Coalition law and order spending cuts ‘pushing police to breaking point’

Back of police officer in high vis jacket

7.tifThe Coalition government’s budget restraints and spending cuts are pushing the police to the brink of crisis, according to the Police Federation of England and Wales.

A new report has revealed spending on law and order has dropped and police officer numbers are down in the years since the launch of the Coalition government.

The UK Justice Police Review from the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies highlights that the government spent £32.3 billion on public order and safety in 2011/12, compared to £36 billion in 2009/10 before the Coalition came to power.

Police officer numbers were also found to have dropped by seven per cent in England and Wales in the two years since the Coalition, while they were down nine per cent in Northern Ireland and only numbers in Scotland were largely unaffected.

The Police Federation, which represents 124,000 police officers throughout the UK, claims the spending cuts and drops in police numbers are detrimental to public safety.

It added those within the Force are already feeling disillusioned and facing more challenges in the coming years under the Coalition.

Steve White, Vice-Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, told SecurityNewsDesk: “The current government’s policing reforms and disproportionate spending cuts are ill-conceived, unnecessarily severe and not in the interests of the safety of the general public.

“The budget constraints, combined with a rapid drop in police officer numbers, have left our members at breaking point. They are demoralised, furious and struggling to carry out the job they signed up for.”

The report outlined that the 10% spending drop on law and order between 2009/10 and 2011/12 was a marked increase in comparison to the 1.4% drop in total UK public sector spending during the same period.

Richard Garside, director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and co-author of the report, claims the Coalition seems intent on “delivering several years of famine” for the police and criminal justice system.

He added: “The coalition’s second year was a period of major conflict with the police rank and file; U-turns on sentencing reform; riots in the streets and division within the government.

“Reform and good governance proved much harder in an era of austerity than in the previous period of relative plenty.”

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