On Thursday night the council leader, Labourâ€™s Julian Bell, was talking about policing. It is a real shame that he cannot use direct, honest language as understood by normal human beings. Using the Gordon Brown trick of calling revenue spending â€œinvestmentâ€ is the first clue. No normal person would call paying the gas bill or buying the weekly shop an investment. I do wish that Labour would stop messing with our language. It is just another form of lying.
More importantly Bell lies again by stating half the facts. Last year the council spent Â£1 million jointly funding a team of 43 police officers (1 inspector, 2 sergeants and 40 PCSOs) and another Â£70K funding two officers to work on our housing estates. A total spend of Â£1.07 million to fund 45 police officers.
In the current financial year Labour proposes to spend just Â£660K to fund 19 police officers (1 inspector, 9 PCs and 9 PCSOs). So in plain, honest English, using the maths of normal people, the Labour council has cut its revenue spending on policing by 38% and reduced the headcount by 58%. They will argue, rightly I think, that the PCs are more useful than PCSOs and that they plan to work more closely with the police which should partially counteract the impact of this massive change. But, this massive cut is way out of proportion to the 12.5% cut the council is having to deal with and ignores what the council already knows about residents’ concerns.
If you check out the residents survey, here, you will see that residentsâ€™ single biggest concern is â€œCrime: including anti-social behaviour and terrorismâ€. This is cited by 20% as a personal concern, top of the list with the next biggest concern being cited by 15%.
Labour are quite aware of this concern and even put crime in number one spot on their list of five key pledges in their manifesto:
Bell really does believe that if he keeps repeating a lie often enough he will be able to fool voters.