The government has been accused of “waging a war against policing in cities such a Brighton and Hove” by Labour MP Peter Kyle.
“Sussex Police have already implemented a 20 per cent cut, as a result of which 500 frontline staff have gone,” the Hove MP said in a speech in the House of Commons yesterday (Wednesday 4 November).
Mr Kyle said that a further cut of between 25 per cent and 40 per cent was expected over the next four to five years.
“To put that in context, of its current budget of £250 million, my police force could lose up to £96 million,” he said.
“I do not believe Conservative members who say that this will not have a direct impact on the front line.”
Here is what Mr Kyle said during the debate on policing which was initiated by the Labour opposition.
He said: “We have heard from honourable members who have been affected by crime and there are many different perspectives on crime and policing both sides of the House.
“I welcome those and enjoyed listening to them because it is important to get different perspectives.
“I have seen the impact and importance of policing from many different perspectives and angles.
“I have been a victim of crime – a victim of serious crime – and saw at first hand during that experience the humanity, professionalism and determination of good policing.
“When I hear from Conservatives who have had experience of policing, from the minister to the honourable member for Gower (Byron Davies), I never fail to have respect for their profession and the dedication they showed when they were serving, even though I disagree with the conclusions they draw.
“Similarly, my honourable friend the member for Dewsbury (Paula Sherriff) spoke about her work with victims of crime, which she did for 10 years.
“I saw that work at first hand too, and have absolute admiration for it.
I have spent time work shadowing with Sussex Police. I recommend that all honourable members do that if they have the opportunity.
“I spent time with the anti-social and hate crime unit in Brighton and Hove police. It is one of the very few police forces to have a dedicated unit for anti-social behaviour and hate crime.
“I learnt an extraordinary amount about the complex work they do and about the interdepartmental work they do on the ground, working with councils, social services and so forth to make policing integrated and to make it work for the long term.
“As an MP, I see things from another angle, particularly representing Brighton and Hove.
“It is a complex place to police. We have eight million visitors to our city every year and two universities which bring with them specific opportunities and challenges.
“We have the highest number of pubs and clubs outside London. Being a party town is great fun, but it brings with it a price to police.
“We have very diverse communities. Some of the most privileged communities in our country are in the city of Brighton and Hove but we also have communities in the bottom 3 per cent for deprivation in the whole country.
“We also have Pride which brings in 200,000 people.
“I understand that good policing underpins our economy, something that has not been mentioned enough in the debate.
“Our economy in Brighton and Hove is dominated by retail – small and micro-businesses, small traders and the self-employed.
“Our economy is not hidden away in tall buildings with private security on the front door.
“Our economy happens on community high streets and people’s neighbourhoods. That requires good, solid community policing.
“Our economy needs a safe space to thrive.
“Sussex police have already implemented a 20 per cent cut, as a result of which 500 frontline staff have gone.
“This is where I extend an olive branch across the House. I have had many frank conversations about this matter.
“The honourable member for North West Hampshire (Kit Malthouse) was slightly patronising earlier when he suggested that we needed to get out and speak to police.
“We do – and they have told us about their innovation and what they did to survive the first round of 20 per cent cuts.
“In many cases, these are examples of best practice, doing more for less and learning from experience.
“There has been innovation but the CPR will mean a further cut of between 25 per cent and 40 per cent.
“To put that in context, of its current budget of £250 million, my police force could lose up to £96 million.
“I do not believe Conservative members who say that this will not have a direct impact on the front line.
“Add to that a funding formula that could take another 5.1 per cent away from our police force and it is impossible to see how this is anything other than a government waging a war against policing in cities such a Brighton and Hove.”