On Tuesday in the House of Commons, MPs spent a massive 38 minutes debating the issue of Police Pension liabilities and how these will impact on policing budgets across the UK. The exchanges that took place were between Nick Hurd who is the Policing Minister and the rest of Parliament. One of these worth viewing was between the Labour MP for Wolverhampton SE and Hurd. The text is shown above along with a photo from the front page of the West Midlands PCC website. The image is a clear indication that when it comes to actions, that Tory Police Ministers engage very closely with Tory PCCs. The fact that Policing has become party biased is made clear by the fact that the West Yorkshire PCC, Mark Burns Williamson was referred to in the previous exchange between Hurd and the Labour MP for Dewsbury, Paula Sherriff:
PS: Owing to Government cuts, in West Yorkshire we have nearly 1,000 fewer uniformed police officers on our streets. As a former police employee for a decade, I know at first hand the impact that this is having on our communities. Will the Minister reassure me that there will be no further cuts to police numbers in Dewsbury and West Yorkshire?
NH: I have been very clear that what I set out last year enabled police forces up and down the country to start recruiting officers again, and I want that to continue. I ask the hon. Lady to support us in holding the PCC to account for holding £72.7 million of public money—almost 18% of funding—in reserves. I am sure that her constituents will want to know how that money is going to be spent to benefit the local force.
This is not the only negative reference that Hurd made towards MPs which have a Labour Police and Crime Commissioner who oversees their constituency. By the same token he was positive about several PCCs who are members of the Tory Party such as David Jamieson pictured above and referred to in the text. Another Tory PCC who was named by Huw Merriman a Sussex MP in his comment to Hurd and who gained a similar positive response was the Sussex PCC, Katy Bourne.
In Hurds response to Pat McFadden as shown above, he makes the interesting statement “It is my intention to work through the issue and come to the House in early December with a funding settlement that works” which relates to the current needs that all police forces have, irrespective of which party their PCC is a member of, or in the small number of places where the PCC is independent of any Party Politics. Nick Hurd then went on to refer to next year’s Governmental long term financial strategy which will influence future spending rounds “We are working very closely with the police to build the evidence base for the Treasury’s comprehensive spending review”
It is an interesting set of words. In the world of policing evidence is what has happened in the past and evidence bases are used to lead to prosecutions, whereas Governments future funding whilst of course having a reference to the past and the current requirements should primarily have a focus on the future and what sort of policing model our nation wants. The building of an evidence base will take most Chief Constables about 10 minutes. The real question is how close is Hurd and his team actually working with the Police itself and listening to communities and how much closer is he working with the Tory Police and Crime Commissioners who like Katy will do as they are told. Indeed the Tory MPs with Tory PCCs will all club together, a bit like Huw did. His ‘question’ was “With Sussex police having welcomed 150 extra staff at the end of October, funded by council tax increases, will my right hon. Friend work with me and Katy Bourne to ensure that the police force has all the resources at its disposal to carry on increasing police numbers?” what Huw failed to point out is that by freezing the Police precept from her first year in office until now, in order to keep Nicks chum Eric Pickles happy, that she added to the cuts which the latest recruits will not come close to redressing. However lets not let the truth colour such party political back slapping!