The various statements since Wednesday coming from Boris and his colleagues are beginning to look a bit confusing. His promise before he was elected as leader of the Party to supply 20,000 more police officers had already been brought into question by Sir Thomas Winsor back at the beginning of July as shown in this online headline. However it is not just Independent people like Thomas who have raised alternative perspectives. Take this response by Elizabeth Truss on Wednesday, the day that Boris was being appointed by the Queen. One imagines that even at that stage, Elizabeth would have had a hint that she was on Borises list of Ministers and now of course we know she is the International Trade Secretary. Of course that raises many concerns for many of us, but on Wednesday she was responding to a written question from Rosena Allin-Khan who is the shadow DCMS Minister. Her question was “To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether funding will be made available for policing in addition to that announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the 2019 Spring Statement” and the answer came from Elizabeth Truss who on Wednesday was the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Her response on Wednesday which fitted neatly into the gap between the promise before his election and the statement since his election was as follows:
“We are keeping our families, communities and country safe by making sure the police have the resources they need to carry out their vital work. We protected police funding in real terms at the Spending Review 2015. Recognising that the police are responding to a shift in demand, in 2019/20 we have: increased the Government’s core grant to police forces by £161m; and, allowed Police and Crime Commissioners to increase their council tax precept referendum principle to £24, which if used in full would raise £509m.
The upcoming Spending Review will allow the government to consider its priorities across all spending.”
So to be honest I would welcome an additional £1bn spent on Policing each year. However I also agree with Tom Winsor that simply focusing on the number of police officers without any consideration regarding the best way of improving matters for the new and existing police officers is deeply naïve and a poor judgement. However it also appears that Elizabeth Truss will be in conflict with this decision, based on the response she made on Wednesday, the day before her Prime Minister reiterated his poor offer!