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MP Meg Hillier criticises Home Office for crippling cuts to police force

PUBLISHED: 14:06 16 October 2015 | UPDATED: 17:06 16 October 2015

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Meg Hillier has accused Whitehall of making swingeing cuts to the police force with no real understanding of what’s going on at the ground.

Meg Hillier, representative for Hackney South and ShoreditchMeg Hillier, representative for Hackney South and Shoreditch

The MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch is chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts, which has published a report into the financial sustainability of police forces in England and Wales.

The report has expressed concern that the Home Office, which is responsible for allocating grants to police and crime commissioners, lacks all the information it needs to know what impact the 25 per cent reductions in funding between 2010 and 2015 are having on police capability at local level.

Along with the Gazette, she is backing a campaign launched by Hackney Council, which is demanding 100 more officers on the borough’s streets following the deaths last month of 17-year old Marcel Addai, who was stabbed by a gang in Hoxton, and Moses

Fadairo, who was shot in broad daylight in Chatsworth Road.

More police are urgently needed to tackle growing levels of crime in Hackney including gang activity and violence, the council has said.

Crippling cuts have seen a 22 per cent reduction in numbers, down to just 597 from 770 five years ago, and while Hackney used to have a team of 40 officers dealing exclusively with gangs, there are now just six.

Ms Hillier said: “Neither the Home Office nor local forces really understand the impact of cuts to local policing. There’s little understanding in the Home Office and in many forces of local demands. With more cuts to come there is no mechanism in place to understand what’s going on.

“With the Met’s resources being cut back by a further two per cent, it’s very difficult to know where else they can make savings unless they are losing more police officers and that really worries me.

“If you don’t have enough police to make sure anti-social behaviour is down, that can lead to people going through the court system which is really expensive to the tax payer. Getting in there early and nipping things in the bud can have advantages.

“The Home Office can’t keep passing that down the line without taking some responsibility for what it means police forces can’t now do.

“The funding cuts have been immense, and now there are more cuts to come.”

Mike Penning, Minister for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Victims said: “Police reform is working. Over the last five years, frontline services have been protected, public confidence in the police has gone up and crime has fallen by more than a quarter, according to the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales.”

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