Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Blame the 'Real' Villains

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Blame the 'Real' Villains

Article excerpt

I CAN assure Ken Walker (Public safety's a priority The Gazette 28.12.18) I got 'real' several years ago - as did many others, including our hard-working officers, staff, community safety partners and volunteers - about how much more we need invested here in policing and community safety.

I hope we all agree the first responsibility of government in a democratic society is to protect and safeguard the lives of all its citizens. Therefore citizens in Surrey - which has a recorded crime level 60% lower than Cleveland - should not be receiving PS10m more from government next year than hardpressed Cleveland.

This rotten police funding formula continues a pattern established over eight years of government austerity, which has taken PS40m from Cleveland, resulting in our loss of 500 police officers and 50 community support officers.

While our overall resources are being cut year on year, the pressures on town centre community policing are growing, and policing alone won't solve all the issues behind begging.

I would also add other growth areas including cyber-crime (which is now estimated at 50% of all crime committed); our high levels of domestic and sexual violence; the growing impact of mental health, drug and alcohol-related crime; human trafficking & slavery; increases in missings from home; the vulnerability of people isolated in communities.

All of this has been raised with me at the 600-plus community meetings I have attended.

I have taken every opportunity over recent years to argue publicly for more resources for Cleveland, including putting our case to various ministers and MPs, and I will continue this until we get our fair share.

Our Chief Constable has also raised his serious professional concerns recently. He is looking to restructure the force, to direct further limited resources into areas of policing need, and I am consulting the public on how we might increase limited investment locally.

I would urge all to focus their anger and concern, not on our hard-pressed officers and staff, but on those in Whitehall and Westminster, who are the real villains de-policing the streets of Cleveland - and therefore not living up to their basic fundamental government responsibility of protection for all our citizens. …

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