I’m fully behind Unison’s important campaign that calls on the Government to replace the thousands of police staff axed since 2010.
There are many unanswered questions surrounding Boris Johnson’s recent pledge to recruit 20,000 police officers but, even if he does follow through on that promise, an increase in officers will have little impact without investment in other police staff.
As well as the 21,000 police officers that have been lost since 2010 due to Tory cuts, over 18,000 police staff and over 6,800 community support officers have also been axed.
Police staff undertake vital work for police forces and include crime scene examiners, fingerprint experts, call centre handlers, investigators, and detention officers. As Unison’s Ben Priestley has rightly said, “Just as doctors alone can’t run a hospital, officers can’t patrol the beat and tackle crime without police staff and PCSOs working alongside them.”
Without support from a well-resourced team of colleagues, police officers cannot work effectively and, after losing thousands of experienced police staff since 2010, we’re now seeing record numbers of crimes go unprosecuted.
Rather than focusing solely on the number of police officers, the Government needs to invest in policing as a whole as well as the social programmes that help to prevent crime. But, to do so, Boris Johnson will need to reverse nine years’ of savage cuts and admit that austerity was a mistake. I’m not holding out hope.