Conservative Diary

« What do you think of the Budget? What are the Coalition's best achievements so far? Who is performing well in the Cabinet? | Main | "David Cameron's good fortune was not to have won the election" »

Fewer police officers + fewer local police stations + fewer offenders going to jail = political trouble

Screen shot 2010-06-29 at 13.48.08Theresa May, Home Secretary, gave a stark warning today about the "big" spending cuts that are about to hit policing and other Home Office responsibilities:

"The spending review has not begun yet, so we don't know the exact figures, but I must be clear. The cuts will be big, they will be tough to achieve, and they will fall on the police as they will on other important public services."

Screen shot 2010-06-29 at 14.20.34 The Telegraph led, this morning, with a warning from Sir Hugh Orde, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, that beat policing would suffer if cuts of 25% to 33% are made in Home Office funding.

Mrs May publicly disagreed with Sir Hugh when she addressed APCO earlier today. She said that she was "determined that frontline availability should increase, even as budgets contract." Central procurement, greater outsourcing, abolition of the targets culture and cutting the back office red tape that keeps police off the streets are the means by which she hopes to deliver. Read the Home Secretary's full speech.

Home Office sources told ConservativeHome that closure of smaller police stations is one likely source of budget savings. The move to elected police chiefs - a Tory promise retained in the Coalition agreement and opposed by Sir Hugh - will at least ensure the police have to focus limited resources on public priorities.

Core Conservative supporters are as likely to be worried by a speech due to be given tomorrow by Justice Secretary Ken Clarke. Trailed by Mary Riddell, Mr Clarke will say that Britain is jailing far too many people and will end the policy of short-term imprisonment. Answering questions from MPs recently, prisons minister Crispin Blunt said that "The evidence is that short custodial sentences are not working."

Tim Montgomerie

7.15pm WATCH: Theresa May scraps Labour's police targets and calls for more visible policing


You must be logged in using Intense Debate, Wordpress, Twitter or Facebook to comment.