The new Home Secretary’s been having a go at the police. She says she’ll make them attend the home of every victim of burglary. It sounds like a crowd pleaser on first hearing but, as a policeman friend of mine pointed out, even if they drop everything else, current resources suggest it would mean about thirty seconds per visit. This Home Secretary’s not living in the real world.
Our police are already severely overstretched and struggling to cope with all kinds of crime. I’m dealing with a couple of complaints right now. The first involves two cars stolen, one with a tracker attached, on the same evening from the same house in an area where there’s been a spate of such thefts. It took several days to recover them, and both were badly damaged. Most likely a gang is operating in the area. A surveillance operation might be the answer but they’re costly and used sparingly in a region this size. I’ve also been alerted to an issue involving an individual brandishing a firearm where there are question marks about the response. I’m surprised because the West Midlands has the second highest number of gun offences, by population, in the country.
If the Home Secretary is going to directly supervise policing perhaps, she’ll consider the two issues I’ve raised.
I’m bound to ask, however, what is the point of Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners if she intends to make all the decisions. Surely, it’s their job to consult and agree priorities, prepare a policing plan and operationalise it. I’d recommend they take more time to explain the facts about just how much money the Government allows them, so people know what to expect.
It’s time for Suella to forget party conference soundbites and concentrate on building back police numbers to the level the Tories inherited from Labour in 2010, while also ensuring they’re properly paid and resourced.
We all want to see more criminals caught and more crime prevented, but it’s a bit rich for the Home Secretary to lecture police officers about problems her government created.