The above headline can now be written by the UK media.
Just 100 Business Leaders signing a similar letter about economic policy attracted headlines across the media. In just six days over ten times that many serving and former police officers, Special Constables, PCSOs and members of police staff signified their support for the following letter:
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PEOPLE OF BRITAIN:
We are professional police officers, police staff and former police officers. We understand the reality of policing in the UK. We believe this Conservative-led, Lib-Dem supported government has caused immense damage to police forces and to the service we are able to provide to you, the public we serve.
David Cameron and Theresa May’s flagship policy of making progressively deeper cuts to police budgets has led to over 17,000 fewer police officers today compared to when they came into office. That is a fall of over 12%. Cuts to police support staff have been even greater. Hundreds of police dogs and dozens of police horses have been lost. There are plans to halve the number of air support bases, leaving large areas of the country with no effective cover. The #CutsHaveConsequences campaign has vividly illustrated the result across the country. If they are re-elected, the Conservatives plan even more cuts.
The police service is in crisis. Numbers are falling. Experienced officers are leaving (or planning to leave) in their droves. Workloads are unbearable. Stress-related sickness levels are soaring. Neighbourhood policing – your local bobby – is on the verge of extinction. As a result, police are being cast adrift from their communities and we fear we will become remote, hostile, authority figures as in so many other countries.
Although some categories of crime are down, others (notably some categories of violent crime) are not. And all crime figures are beginning to show signs of rising again as the cuts work through. But crime is not the whole picture – some estimates suggest over 50% of demand for police assistance is not related to crime – and fewer officers means response times are rising too.
We believe that continuing with the policy of cutting the police service will further endanger public safety. It will send a negative message about Britain being a safe place to live and do business and it will put economic recovery at risk. Inward investment will only be made if the country is safe. Businesses will not thrive if crime is rife. Jobs will be lost if businesses close.
We are astounded that issues of policing, crime and disorder have been almost entirely ignored by all Parties in the General Election campaign. The public should be aware of the fact that the police service is perilously close to collapse when they make their choice.
We invite voters to consider carefully how policing has fared over the last five years and to use their vote to ensure that no further damage is caused and that a start is made on the long job of repairing the damage done.
In a personal capacity we therefore sign this letter.
The 1000 police professionals are broken down as follows:
- 423 serving PCs / DCs
- 118 serving PSs / DSs
- 50 serving Insps / Ch Insps / Det Insps / Det Ch Insps
- 4 serving Supts / Ch Supts / Det Supts / Det Ch Supts
- 1 serving NPCC (ACPO) rank officer
- 36 serving Specials
- 10 serving PCSOs
- 31 serving members of police staff
- 312 former police officers (all ranks)
- 7 former Specials
- 8 former PCSOs / members of police staff
The number of “signatures” obtained in so short a time graphically illustrates the depth of concern within the police service that the “Crisis In Policing” is being totally ignored in the General Election campaign.
Let us hope that the mainstream media take note of this fantastic response and give the letter the same prominence they gave to the one signed by a mere 100 Business Leaders…
(NB: THE SURVEY ASSOCIATED WITH THE LETTER IS NOW CLOSED)