Nia Griffith MP today met officers from Dyfed Powys Police Force who joined some 35,000 police officers on a march through central London. Their purpose was to send a strong message to the Conservative-LibDem coalition government that 20% cuts to police budgets is criminal, and is a real risk to public safety. Nia later met the Chairman and Secretary of the Dyfed Powys Police Federation Phil Addicott and Paul Herdman, for more a detailed discussion about the implications of the cuts and concerns about the future of policing.
Nia said, “ The Government’s decision to cut 20% from police budgets goes too far and too fast, and means 16,000 officers across the country are going. Already since the election over 5,000 have gone from 999 response units, neighbourhood policing and traffic units. Contrary to the Prime Minister’s claim that the front line would be protected, we have already lost thousands of the very officers who respond most quickly to public cries for help.
Labour voted against the 20% cuts and we have continually campaigned for the government to change its plan. Of course the police do have to make their share of efficiencies. We have said for some time that we believe the police could sustain a cut of around 12% in their budget by the end of the Parliament and still maintain the number of police officers and the quality of service. That’s based on the independent analysis by the HMIC, the work Labour did before the election and the evidence since, and has been supported by many police officers and experts too. But instead of cutting 12%, the government is cutting 20% with the steepest cuts in the first two years – and that is why so many valued frontline police officers are being lost. This is criminal and it is certainly not what the public want.”