The Government’s flagship 20,000 police officer recruitment pledge has been called into question after initial allocations reveal that Thames Valley Police would still have fewer officers than in 2010 when the Tories came into power.
Thames Valley Police have 285 fewer police officers now than they had at the start of the decade. Boris Johnson’s pledge would only see an initial allocation of 183 new officers meaning that Thames Valley would still have lost 102 officers in this time.
The figures were released after Labour councillor Tom Hayes of Oxford City Council conducted a Freedom of Information request to Thames Valley Police.
The Prime Minister’s policing pledge has been downscaled after his spending review appeared to rule out 20,000 officers reaching the frontline.
The spending review confirmed the 20,000 officers will not just go to the local forces but will be shared between the National Crime Agency and Counter-Terror Policing.
The pledge itself is now not expected to be honoured until 2022 at the earliest, a year later than promised.
Charlynne Pullen, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Milton Keynes North, said: “Milton Keynes is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK and we need proper resources for the police force to ensure the people who live in the area are safe and crime can be investigated properly.
She added: “Police officers are being pushed to the limit and with the initial allocation of officers still being well short of the number Thames Valley had in 2010, it shows that the Conservatives are not serious about funding the police.”
She concluded: “We need to support Thames Valley Police with proper resources as they look to protect Milton Keynes, not give them false hope by breaking promises.”
Hannah O’Neill, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Milton Keynes South, said: “This is yet more spin from this Government as when you dig down into the numbers you realise it is just not as good as it sounds.”
She added: “This is so frustrating for our communities who have been at the sharp end of almost 10 years of austerity measures that have left our public services decimated.”
She concluded: “We need real investment in our police forces, real police officers on the beat, real communities feeling safe. Not more spin and false promises.”