With the Con Dem Government actively preparing to hack the public sector budget to hell and back - something that will inevitably damage front line public services and effectively punish the many for the reckless greed driven misdeeds of the few - we are all waiting for the cuts to start. When the cuts begin to bite we may find ourselves in wholly brand new territory, with a Conservative (in action if not name) Government (despite the presence of Lib Dem office seekers), seriously considering reducing the Police budget and cutting Police (both uniformed and civilian support staff) numbers whilst trying to deal with the crime related effects of the recession.
Now this is something that even Mrs Thatcher in her more lucid moments (and she had some), well before she went mad towards the end of her tenure as PM never even considered doing for a moment. Mr’s T at the start of her destructive and divisive period in office made sure that she raised Police pay (and improved conditions) – something which won her a combination of tacit approval, tacit support or at least a degree of passivity from the Police service, which had been neglected under the previous struggling Labour Government – during who's tenure in office there had been an erosion of police pay and working conditions.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, speaking at an annual lecture to the Police Federation, made the comparison between the poor record on organised crime and the good progress made in countering terrorism. He went on to say that the Police Service's response to organised crime has been "uncoordinated" and "inadequate". He went on to say that there were 60,000 organised groups, comprising 38,000 criminals and warned that cuts and elected police chiefs could further erode the capability to target these groups. He said that organised crime cost the UK at least £40 billion a year but combating it was not a priority for chief constables, with only about 11% of organised criminals were being actively targeted.
Food for thought - yet faced with paying for New Labour’s reckless spending, the ongoing financial legacy of Blair's wars, bailing out the banks, replacing Trident (an essential prop of Britain is to stride the world stage clinging on to the pretensions of being a World power), etc - the new Government finds itself just a s skint as Gordon's lot were. Is it just me or do people find it a tad odd how they can always manage to find money for their wars, their banks and other things when they need to?
So a few months in despite the best efforts at spin, David (“Call me Dave”) Cameron's Con Dem Government has brought itself to what can best be described as their budgetary Rubicon moment - 'To cut or not to cut and how deep?' So here we are with serious consideration being given to reducing Police numbers and cutting back on operational policing and the myriad of police support workers who fulfil a hundred routine (and not so routine) tasks behind the front line? That's one way to make our communities suffer as the cuts begin to bite...