South Shields MP blasts police cuts as figures show 24% drop in staff and officers

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has criticised government cuts after a fall in police numbers was revealed.
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has criticised government cuts after a fall in police numbers was revealed.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has hit out at the Government after falling police numbers were revealed.

 The MP has called for a “fairer settlement” to ensure the community remains protected after Home Office figures released by the Unison union show that the total number of police staff and officers in Northumbria Police fell from 6,720 in March 2010 to 5,102 in September 2015.

Against a backdrop of a 60% increase in sexual offences and a 29% increase in violent crime, they desperately need a fairer settlement

MP Emma Lewell-Buck

That is a drop of more than 24%, and includes a decrease in the number of officers by more than 18%.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that in the year from September 2014 to September 2015, the total amount of crime reported to Northumbria Police increased by 14%, along with a significant rise in violent crime and sex offences.

Mrs Lewell-Buck has criticised cuts led by the Government.

She said: “Under the Tories, Northumbria Police have suffered the worst financial cuts of any police force in the UK, losing 762 officers in the last five years alone. Despite the Chancellor’s promises not to cut police budgets further, we now know that funding for Northumbria Police is being cut by a further £1.2million this year.

“Our police and crime commissioner, Vera Baird, and her team of officers are doing a great job of managing the cuts and protecting our communities against a backdrop of a 60% increase in sexual offences and a 29% increase in violent crime, but they desperately need a fairer settlement.”

The Home Office figures also show that the number of police staff fell from 2,095 in March 2010 to 1,485 in September 2015, while the number of police community support officers (PCSOs) dropped by more than 56%.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “Northumbria Police has sustained the worst cuts in the country over the last four years.

“However, we have made every effort to lessen the impact on the public and continue to provide the high-quality policing service our communities rightly deserve and expect from us.

“We have worked hard to reduce our costs. We have made significant changes to our working practices, including;halving the number of area commands, making substantial back office efficiency savings and downsizing our estate.

“We are committed to maintaining officers in front-line policing, doing all we can to protect the numbers of 24/7 response officers and neighbourhood officers visible in communities; wherever possible seeking to make reductions in senior management and supervisory ranks.

“However, we continue to deliver for victims of crime, with satisfaction levels at 92%.”