DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Proof that you can cut crime and save money
Daily Mail Comment
23:49 GMT, 30 December 2012
23:50 GMT, 30 December 2012
For months, the Police Federation has been giving dire warnings that budget cuts and reforms to working practices would mean a ‘Christmas for criminals’.
Yet instead of the predicted crimewave, new figures show the opposite – recorded crime has fallen by around 10 per cent.
The fall is a huge tribute to the skill and dedication of police officers but also explodes the myth that maintaining effectiveness is simply a matter of spending ever more taxpayers’ money
The Government must finally deliver on the promise to slash red tape and free up front-line police to do what they do best – get out on the streets and protect the public
The figures prove that with imaginative leadership and proper use of manpower the police can provide a more efficient service even in these austere times.
And they provide potent ammunition for Home Secretary Theresa May in her bitter war of words with the Police Federation over planned reforms.
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She will decide next month whether to
implement recommendations by the Winsor report, including
performance-related pay, cutting starting salaries, and giving chief
constables the power to make officers compulsorily redundant.
Given the Federation’s claim that the reforms would increase crime, the new figures – leaked to a Sunday newspaper – could hardly have come at a more convenient moment. There were also stories about police inefficiency in other papers, leading to suspicions of a co-ordinated Home Office PR campaign.
In particular, one story showed that despite endless pledges by governments and chief constables to cut bureaucracy, the amount of time wasted by officers on dreary paperwork is actually growing.
No one is a greater admirer of the police than the Mail, but the Federation does its members no favours by acting like an intransigent trade union.
Painful as it may be, all public services must become leaner and more efficient as Britain tackles the terrifying budget deficit built up under Labour, and the police can be no exception.
Even if all the Winsor reforms are implemented, the service will still have a pay structure, job security, and pension rights beyond the dreams of the vast majority of private sector workers.
For its part, the Government must finally deliver on the promise to slash red tape and free up front-line police to do what they do best – get out on the streets and protect the public.
Lesson from America
Anyone who doubts the utter folly of increasing borrowing rather than reducing public spending during this recession should take a long look at the current crisis in the US.
By putting off crucial decisions about welfare cuts and failing to implement planned tax rises, America has allowed its debt to soar to the almost unimaginable figure of $16.4trillion – the ceiling set in US law above which it must not go.
So instead of a gradual programme of debt reduction, the nation could be plunged into sudden, draconian austerity, threatening hopes of economic recovery.
Given the equally chilling evidence from the eurozone, which is collapsing under the weight of its debts, it beggars belief that Labour was still calling yesterday for the Prime Minister to slow down his deficit reduction programme.
If anything, he needs to speed it up. Delay just increases the pain.
A crass intervention
As new figures reveal 60,000 a year die on the Liverpool Care Pathway without their relatives even being told they have been put on it, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt describes the controversial regime as ‘a fantastic step forward’ for the dying.
Given that its critics regard it as a ‘pathway to death’ and his own department is conducting an inquiry into its use, could he have been more crass