The 43 forces around the country are empowered to bring forward innovation and different ideas. The integrated public contract command and control system that West Mercia and Warwickshire police have developed with the Hereford and Worcester fire and rescue services is an example of that, and it was partly paid for by the police innovation fund.
I thank the Minister for his reply. My constituency is home to a business called SmartWater, which has pioneered forensic marking technology. This innovative technology helps the police to prevent and detect crime. Does he agree that a collaborative approach between the public and the police to encourage the marking of property could revolutionise policing in the UK?
I am very aware that the Home Secretary visited my hon. Friend’s constituency and this excellent company with her in 2013. In my constituency, SmartWater is particularly being used in rural areas to protect very valuable agricultural plant—this is about not only prevention, but tracking it after it has been stolen.
Innovation is, of course, to be welcomed, but many forces are finding it increasingly difficult to deliver even on core policing functions. According to the National Audit Office, Northumbria police force has already suffered the highest level of funding cuts in the country. On that basis, can local people really have any confidence that we will get a fair deal from Ministers this time around?
In 2010, it was said that the cuts would be devastating, policing would suffer and crime would go up—it went down. We will look very carefully at the consultation. I stood at this Dispatch Box and promised that I would come back with different figures and so on, based on the consultation. That was a promise I gave the House and it is exactly what I have done, and I will continue to listen.