The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, has responded to the Prime Minister’s pledge to recruit 20,000 additional police officers across England and Wales over the next three years.
Speaking after the announcement, Mr Cuthbert welcomed new Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s comments in principle, but warned that we need more detail about how this will be funded on a sustainable, long-term basis.
“This week’s announcement by Mr Johnson is good news in principle, but the devil is in the detail,” Mr Cuthbert said.
“Since I first came into office, my fellow Police and Crime Commissioners and I have been campaigning for UK Government to increase funding for our police services and reduce pressure on local communities.
“Here in Gwent, our budget has been reduced by 40% in real terms since the start of the UK Government’s austerity programme in 2010/11.
“This has meant I have had no option but to make almost £50million in cashable efficiencies and turn to the public for support by increasing the local precept level.
“It is because of their continued support that we have been able to recruit more than 400 police officers since 2016, of which almost 150 are new policing posts.
“They are helping to tackle crimes in specialist areas, protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities.
“However, with the ever growing cost of living, we cannot solely rely on local council tax payers to sustain this. Serious investment by UK Government is essential.
“I hope very much that these additional officers will be funded by new money from the UK Government, rather than the cost burden being placed on council tax payers again.
“My fellow PCCs and I now await, with interest, how Mr Johnson plans to deliver this promise.
“I just hope the new PM isn’t playing politics with policing.”