Crawley News 24 Column, Tuesday 29th May 2018

Enough is enough. The police cuts have gone too far. We need our officers and PCSOs back on Crawley’s streets. Whatever the Government likes to claim, violent crime has risen in-line with police cuts and to assume that is just a coincidence is gambling with people’s safety.

Even with the money Sussex Police do get, which increasingly has to be paid from your council tax while the Government cuts their grant, the Police and Crime Commissioner is making the wrong decisions. For four years, Crawley’s Labour representatives on the Sussex Police and Crime Panel, including myself, have dissected the Sussex Police budget and highlighted that millions of pounds of cuts to neighbourhood policing could have been avoided. Unfortunately, no one listened.

The result is where we are now, with violent crime on the rise and residents complaining that when they are attacked with fireworks in the street, when people are breaking into their cars and when there is violence on the High Street, there simply aren’t the police available to respond anymore. At the end of the day, that comes down to a political choice about their funding and no amount of spin can hide it.

Without the police to enforce the law, laws become pointless and without laws we’re forced to live in a state of chaos. As the Leader of Crawley Borough Council, I’m tired of being asked to bite my tongue and rely upon a quiet word with the right people to turn things around. Well, the subtle approach doesn’t seem to be working, so let’s just make the reality clear for people: the Government and the Police and Crime Commissioner have the power in their hands to turn this all around, if they decide not to then we’ll know what our safety is worth to them.

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