The Police have had a difficult time over recent years. In our area alone over 700 officers have been lost since the Conservatives entered Government and even with a recent boost in recruitment, the service is forced to go on operating with hundreds fewer officers than they had just a few years ago.
Despite the denials, the consequences of this are plain, with the rise of knife-crime on our streets and regular reports from residents of drug dealing taking place on their doorsteps. It’s common sense: if you cut police numbers, law and order suffers.
While I’ve no direct say over how the police operate, as council leader people often reach out to me to express frustration when they find calls to 101 going unanswered, when officers won’t respond to a break-in taking place on their property or when children launching fireworks at cars goes ignored.
There is no excuse why, in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, residents should be forced to wonder whether if the worst happens the emergency services will actually respond, if they can even be reached. Yet, even if the big stuff could be addressed, much of what was once taken for granted is no longer being delivered by the police.
We were told earlier this month that Sussex Police will no longer deal with lost property. While that is a very minor thing to lose the range of antisocial behaviour issues now going unaddressed, when the police are the only ones with the power to act, is not minor, it has a big impact on the life of a community.
Nationally, Labour has committed to putting another 10,000 police officers back on the beat, if elected into Government. It is sorely needed, but Crawley shouldn’t have to wait for another General Election to get the policing residents deserve. That’s why I’m campaigning locally with Crawley Labour members to put pressure on Sussex’s Police and Crime Commissioner to allocate the town the policing resources we need to ensure that once residents’ once again know that when they contact the police they will get a meaningful response.