On Monday 5 June, Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer held a press conference with six union representatives. One of them was Ben Priestley from Unison. He was there representing civilian police staff outside London. And he became the latest person to accuse Theresa May’s government of misleading the public.
I think one of the issues that we’re most concerned about following on from those cuts has been an increase in crime that we’ve seen in England and Wales since 2012/13. And this is something which the government has sought to avoid, but we think there is a connection, there’s an analysis, [on] what the public will be doing in relation to these figures. And some of those figures are truly, truly shocking.
Since 2012/13, there’s been a 29% increase in possession of weapons. This is police-recorded crime. These are the crimes that the police themselves through rigorous process have deemed to be crimes. A 29% increase in possession of weapons. A 65% increase in violence against the person. A 38% increase in assault with injury. Sexual offences are up 97%. And public order offences are up 54%.
Now, if those figures weren’t shocking enough, this government, which has claimed repeatedly, and also claimed in its Conservative Party manifesto, that crime is falling. But nothing could actually be further from the truth. The government relies on the crime survey for England and Wales, which is an opinion poll, which disregards homicide; it disregards sexual offences; it disregards crimes against business. It is a very very small proportion of overall crime.
So the government relies on those figures to tell the electorate that crime is falling. Whereas recorded crime figures tell exactly the opposite story.
Now I’ll return to the issue of policing cuts, and the effect that’s had on our members’ ability to police the work places, and the places that they are overseeing. And I think the most worrying aspect of that is if you look at the 37% – 38% decline in PCSOs [police community support officers], they now say they are no longer able to gather that important intelligence on a day-to-day basis about criminal, and potentially terrorist activity, in the communities that they are policing.
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
— EL4C (@EL4JC) June 5, 2017
Mark Serwotka of the Public and Commercial Services union was at the conference representing PCSOs. He said in regards to recent terror attacks:
Nobody here will say: ‘If it wasn’t for this cut, that wouldn’t have happened.’ It would be folly to say so. But what we can say is that the figures speak for themselves and questions need to be asked – you need to put resources in to continually keep people safe.
It would be a dereliction of duty if those people representing frontline workers did not get the message across that the swingeing cuts that took place under Theresa May’s watch are having a very real impact.
Priestley said on the same matter:
We’re all sensitive to the victims and their families and friends. But it must be right that we are able to examine what the impact of the cuts has been,” he said.
Our members have been trying to get that story across for a long, long time. It’s a real shame it’s taken these events to throw some of these cuts into relief, but I think that debate has got to happen.
There are more worrying revelations in the following videos:
Tory trolls will hate this. If they think ignoring real dangers to our safety is respecting those affected, they're just plain wrong. pic.twitter.com/iro5fjQR6G
— EL4C (@EL4JC) June 5, 2017
Mark Serwotka and Ben Priestley destroy the myth that cutting Police numbers have no effect on security. Devastating. pic.twitter.com/6RXQFrz8JX
— EL4C (@EL4JC) June 5, 2017
The past few months have shown that, although Britain’s people are strong and resilient, the country is also vulnerable. We rely on security sources to protect us, and to one degree or another we put our trust in them. So it’s of grave concern that the people we need to trust are telling us we can’t trust the government.
– Vote on 8 June. And encourage others to do the same.
– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.
– You can also support The Canary if you value the work we do.
Featured image via screengrab
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?