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Police ‘Used As Social Services’

“The police shouldn’t be picking up the slack for social care problems, we should be allowed to focus on preventing and detecting crime. Let us get back to policing!”

This was the reaction of West Yorkshire Police Federation Vice Chair Craig Nicholls to comments made by Sir Michael Barber, who is leading a Strategic Review of Policing. The report will make more than 50 recommendations for the future of forces in England and Wales.

Speaking at a Centre for Policy Studies event, Sir Michael said: “Too often our police are effectively a social service dealing more with mental health and family breakdown than fighting crime.” He added that there “aren’t enough police”, they “haven’t got the best technology” and they face an “organisational challenge” with crimes like fraud needing to be “strategically addressed from the centre” while forces around the country tackle local offending.

Craig said: “Sir Michael has highlighted that our members are being used as social services and distracting us from the task of preventing and detecting crime, and he is not wrong.

“Cuts do have real-life consequences and policing is in a crisis because of this. Over the past 10 years, these funding cuts have left us with outdated technologies to fight crime when demand is rising in cybercrime and fraud. Our members are working harder and harder, without any pay rise to recognise this.

“My members do not feel respected by the Government, they feel betrayed at the lack of support. They put themselves and their families at risk throughout the pandemic with no meaningful uplift to their pay. The Government and Home Secretary are simply full of empty words and political spin.

“My members come to work each day to do their very best for the communities they serve. It’s high time the Government does what’s right for my members and that means putting their hands in their pockets and giving us the numbers, the tools and the funding to give us the ability to police in the modern day.”

Date posted: March 19, 2022

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