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House of Commons Hansard
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04 June 2018
Volume 642
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7. What steps he is taking to increase police numbers. [905648]

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It is for police and crime commissioners and chief constables to decide the size of their workforces. We are helping the police respond to changing demand with a £460 million increase in overall funding in 2018-19, including through the council tax precept, and many PCCs are using that cash for extra recruitment.

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I thank the Home Secretary for that response. Tackling terrorism is obviously extremely important, but the more immediate concern for people each and every day comes from crimes such as burglary and antisocial behaviour. Is he confident that police forces such as Gloucestershire’s will have sufficient officers to follow up complaints about those crimes and see them through right to the end?

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I reassure my hon. Friend that we are helping the police to respond to the changing demand that he mentions with the extra £460 million overall. Many PCCs have made a commitment to increase frontline policing. Gloucestershire has received a £3.6 million increase this year and I am sure that that will help. In addition, I will prioritise more police resources in the next spending review.

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The Metropolitan police estimate that police officers in London alone are owed 200,000 rest days. How many are owed across the country as a whole?

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The Metropolitan police do a fantastic job and their officers are incredibly dedicated. Over the past few weeks that I have been in this role I have had the opportunity to meet many of them. We must ensure that they have the resources they need. That is why the Metropolitan police received a record increase in the recent financial settlement, which has been welcomed.

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The Policing Minister is sitting next to the Home Secretary and will be able to brief him on the crisis in police funding in Lincolnshire. He will tell the Home Secretary that we are one of the bottom three authorities in the entire country for funding, so what is the Home Secretary going to do to try to resolve this matter? It would take relatively little and relatively few steps, and it would be cost-effective to ensure that we were fairly funded in Lincolnshire to help to resolve rural crime.

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For a moment I thought I was back in Housing, Communities and Local Government questions, as that sounds like a question about local government funding in Lincolnshire. My hon. Friend makes an important point. There is an increase of more than £3 million for local policing in Lincolnshire in the latest settlement, but this is an important issue that I wish to look at much more closely as we get to the spending review.

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The Home Secretary has twice talked about police resources on “The Andrew Marr Show” since he took office, first on 8 April, when he said that police cuts have had no effect on crime, and then this weekend, when he said that, as a priority, he wants to secure extra funding for the police. For the avoidance of doubt, is the Home Office’s new line that the police do need high budgets? If so, how much and when?

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What I recognise is that, for a number of reasons, there has been an increase in recorded crime and in certain types of crime, such as cyber-crime, and there has been more reporting of past sexual offences and of domestic crime. We are encouraging that and we want to see it reported. We have to make sure resources match that demand, which is why the increase this year is very welcome. As we get to the spending review, we have to make sure that we have the right amount of resources for the long term.

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Police resources would go further if those they do arrest and who are subsequently convicted were to serve their time in jail in full, thus reducing reoffending rates. Does the Home Secretary agree?

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Where I agree with my hon. Friend is that it is important that people who are sentenced serve the appropriate amount of time. I am aware of the issues he raises, and I would welcome discussing it with him further.

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Since the Tories came to power, the number of police in the Northumbria policing area has been cut by 27%. During the same time, violent crime has gone up 177%. Is it just the general public who notice the link between those figures, or has the Secretary of State noticed it, too?

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Perhaps it is worth my reminding the hon. Gentleman that at the last election he stood on a manifesto that wanted to cut police funding by 5% to 10%, whereas this Government have protected it. If his correlation were correct—if it were correct—crime would have gone up even more had Labour been in office.