Neighbourhood policing ‘vanishing’ under this government claims Barnsley MP

Michael Dugher, MP for Barnsley East, has slammed the Government for failing to protect frontline policing numbers ahead of this week’s Comprehensive Spending Review, as new figures show that South Yorkshire Police will need to axe 1,542 jobs before the end of the decade.

The figures, obtained by Mr Dugher in a recent Freedom of Information request to South Yorkshire Police, show that the Force will have to reduce the number of officers by 495, support staff by 894 and Police Community Support Officers by 153, in order to meet savings imposed by central Government.

This mean that workforce numbers will have been reduced from 5583 to 3151, or 40 per cent, between 2010 and 2020.

At the same time, figures from South Yorkshire Police show that overall reported crime in Barnsley increased by 3 per cent between October 2014 and September 2015 compared to the year before.

During the same period, crimes involving Violence Against the Person increased by 35 per cent and Sexual Offences increased by 74 per cent.

Nationally, 17,000 police officers have been lost since 2010, and Labour are warning that cuts to neighbourhood policing will undermine the Police’s ability to support counter-terrorism efforts and to react to major emergencies.

Said Mr Dugher: “With thousands of frontline police positions set to be axed in the coming years, neighbourhood policing seems to be vanishing under this Government.

“Our police forces do a fantastic job with steadfast dedication and professionalism, but cuts are fundamentally damaging policing and Ministers can no longer go on pretending that this is not having a serious, detrimental impact on the ability of the police to serve the public.

“Just this month, police in Barnsley were unable to police road closures as usual at Remembrance Parades in my constituency and South Yorkshire Police have made it clear to me that it is becoming increasingly challenging to maintain core police functions as a result of central Government cuts.

“Many serious crimes are on the rise and risks to the public are increasing. The recent terrible terrorist attacks in Paris also demonstrate the need for a strong and capable police service at the community, regional and national level that can tackle the threats we face.”

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