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Northumbria Police

Volume 655: debated on Monday 25 February 2019

10. What comparative assessment he has made of the number of frontline police officers employed by Northumbria Police in 2010 and 2019. (909397)

The Northumbria police and crime commissioner has announced that the precept will increase by £24 in 2020, meaning that funding will increase by £18 million compared with 2018-19. That is increased local investment in local policing.

Since 2010 the Tories have cut Northumbria police’s funding by 25% and given it a 1,000 decrease in the number of police officers on the street, leading to a massive increase in serious crime. Is the Minister proud of this Government’s record?

Of course, the statistic the hon. Gentleman omits is that the other key thing about 2010 was that this country was then dealing with the largest deficit in our public finances in peacetime history. Over the years we have taken action to tackle that and get the public finances under control—opposed by Labour—and we are now creating the conditions for increased public investment in policing, again opposed by Labour.

No, no, no: as I have just been advised, it would require a cross-country train to make the journey from Northumbria, about which the hon. Member for Jarrow (Mr Hepburn) asked, to either Coventry or Dudley, which doubtless have many merits, and which can be reached subsequently in other circumstances.

Residents in Lincolnshire, just like those in Northumbria and many other people across the country, will be paying £24 more on their council tax this year, which the Government have claimed is to fund local policing. However, because the force has spent all of its reserves, which the Minister has repeatedly told forces to do and which we have just heard him do again, the force will be losing 40 officers and 30 police community support officers this year from the frontline. So what does the Minister have to say to residents who will be paying more for a much lesser service because their force has faithfully followed Government policy?

Lincolnshire is only marginally nearer; there is a degree of latitude for the Front Bench, but that is mildly cheeky.

We are in regular contact with Lincolnshire police. Of course, the hon. Lady stampeded to a worst case scenario and ignored the fact that, as a result of the police funding settlement that she led her party to vote against, Lincolnshire police will be receiving up to £8.6 million in cash next year, a move welcomed by the PCC and the chief.