Thursday, 11 August 2011



Here come Labour, chuntering on about policing cuts in the absence of any acceptance of responsibility for the recent criminal activities - some of whose participants were born and grew up under a Labour government. Same old Labour: trite responses to a hugely complex issue. Well, here's a response to Labour.

The country has just been through one of the worst recessions ever. We are poorer than we were in 2008 and the economy is flatlining. Despite the Labour spin, any party which had emerged from the election in 2010 in control would have had to make swingeing cuts along the lines of those which have been made. If you doubt this, just google 'Alastair Darling and cuts', to see what the bushy-eyebrowed 'Laurel' was saying before the election as the then Prime Minister, 'Hardy' Brown tried desperately to stop him. The cuts have been made across the board and have included every public service, including the police. That it not pleasant or easy but it is fair. People demanding that planned cuts in policing budgets are stopped to avoid a repeat of the recent problems in future are being too simplistic. Their response is understandable but it ignores a number of facts.

Firstly, recent events were unprecedented and could not have been planned for even with double the number of police. Police numbers in themselves are not the problem; the issue of recent days appears to have been the response by the police and the attitude of the communities involved, which in many cases has been to criticise the police for failing to hold back huge mobs without recognising all our involvement in building and maintaining a civilised society.

Secondly, the police service has shown a quite impressive ability to respond in force to the problem after the initial shock, suggesting not that police numbers are the problem but that police intelligence was at fault.

Thirdly, what kind of message does it send to the criminals involved in the recent looting and destruction that we have to abandon essential economic plans to rescue the country - that's all of us with bank accounts, mortgages, loans, savings, shares, investments - to stop a few hundred people from being animals? Isn't this the cliched 'holding the country to ransom' which so many politicians would normally decry?

The answer to the recent problems is not a crude numbers game. Flooding England with police will not stop crime but it will diminish all our civil liberties. The problem is far wider and deeper and it touches on everyone. The police are not the controlling, oppressive force found in other countries - thank God - they are part of society and for that we all share a burden.

Wake up Miliband and Harman and recognise that 13 years of oppressive and intrusive government did not solve deep-seated problems in our country. When you do that, feel free to consider solutions other than more uniforms. Until then, go home and read a book or de-flea the cat.

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