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Javid promises support for Police frontline

24 May 2018

SAJID JAVID has delivered his first speech since becoming home secretary and has outlined his vision for the government’s relationship with the Police.

The home secretary was speaking at the annual Police Federation conference and promised to fully support the Police. He said he would ensure that there is enough funding to make sure there is suitable funding for frontline officers. He also showed his support for spit and bite guards to protect officers and the stop and search policy.

Mr Javid revealed his brother had been a police officer for more than 25 years and he has listened and understood the concerns of officers. He said: “What I will say is that I am listening and that I do get it. I get that there’s increased demand. Yes, traditional crime is down by a third since 2010, which is a big credit to your hard work. But more crimes like hate crimes and sexual offences are being reported than ever before.

“Since becoming home secretary, I’ve spoken to frontline officers about your experiences of crime and policing. You’ve told me that you feel stretched, overburdened and not sufficiently rewarded. So, let me say this. I want you to have the resources that you need. I will prioritise police funding in the Spending Review next year.”

He was asked if he had read the report by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) that his predecessor (Amber Rudd) had claimed she had not seen, which links the rise in recorded violent crime to the reduction in police officer numbers. Mr Javid responded by stating that he hadn’t seen the report either.

He said: "We have to look at what is driving the increase in violent crime.  There is a genuine increase. No one should be in any doubt that violent crime is completely unacceptable."

Mr Javid also pointed out that there had been a rise in violent crime in 2010 but at the time there had not been the pressure on officer numbers that exists today. Since 2010 the number of police officers has been cut by 20,000.

Chair of Hampshire Police Federation John Apter illustrated the impact that the reduction in officer numbers has had in his county.  Since 2010, officer numbers in the area have fallen by nearly 1,000 officers, which is 25% of the force. Mr Apter said: "Colleagues and members tell me they feel that they are not providing the service they want to. My colleagues are broken, words are cheap, we need action."

The home secretary responded by saying that he had heard the same message from within his constituency in West Mercia. He said that as a new home secretary he "got what the issues are" and that he would "work with colleagues in other departments to collectively address the issues."

The impact of police station closures was another issue raised. West Midlands Police Federation’s Richard Cook said that by reducing the number of police stations, the distances that officers are having to drive, many as quick response drivers, was increasing. And due to both the mental and physical demands that this places on officers, this was adding to fatigue and welfare issues officers are having to cope with. Mr Cook asked the Home Secretary: "What is different about you as home secretary? We are sick and tired of politicians who pull the rug from under our feet when it comes to funding."

Mr Javid responded: "You have a home secretary that gets the issues but I don’t have a magic wand. I talked earlier about the different departments that I have run and how I set out clear priorities and get what I want to get. Just look at my track record."