I’ve been speaking out against the Government’s consistent under-funding of our emergency services, which has left police officers and firefighters dangerously overstretched.
31 out of the 43 police forces will lose funding this year, in not only real terms but cash terms. In real terms, almost every single police force will lose out. Since 2015 the Government has promised to protect police funding, yet we have seen police numbers fall by 5,900.
Never, since records began, has police-recorded violent crime been as high as it is today. Never has knife crime been as high as it is today. Arrests have halved in a decade. Unsolved crimes stand at more than 2 million, and 93% of domestic violence offences go unprosecuted.
Our fire service is also increasingly struggling to keep up with demand due to Tory cuts. Despite an increase in the number of incidents that firefighters attend, funding for fire services has been cut by 15%.
As the fire brigade says, one of the most important aspects of its work is to minimise risk and prevent fires in the first place. It is therefore staggering that, 19 months on from the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, there are still buildings in this country wrapped in Grenfell-style cladding, whose residents do not know whether their home is safe. The Government must get their act together on that, and fast.
Our firefighters and police have not let us down; they have been badly let down by the Government. The public knows this Government has failed and will continue to fail in its first and most solemn duty, to keep its citizens safe.