Sussex Police Cuts

Toby Brothers at East Grinstead Police Station

Toby Brothers at East Grinstead Police Station

Sussex Police: Politicised, Pulverised & Compromised
By Toby Brothers, UKIP Mid Sussex candidate and Lawyer  

2 April 2015

Isn’t it incredible that we have a politicised a largely pointless Police Crime Commissioner post in Sussex?

We learn that Tory PCC, Katy Bourne, on about £70k pa, no doubt following Tory policy instructions, is backing the extraordinary and sudden announcement of a 500 front line officer cut in Sussex! It has been presented as a ‘long term 5 year plan’ when it is nothing but an enormous cut to the force capability. This must be the sign of the type of public sector cuts to come. If these cuts are so palatable as presented, why didn’t they happen in 2011?

It didn’t stop there. There will be 200 other staff and ‘300 posts from elsewhere in the force’ to be cut. That makes a thousand people.

We have already had a £20m pa cut to Sussex Police. There was quite a reshuffle for those cuts and I know it took some doing to cope. This cut is £56m pa. Totally staggering!

The Govt wants to claim that there has been a substantial fall in National Crime and the same in Sussex. Their crime statistics are totally discredited. The methods have changed time and again to suit the moment and few people have any confidence in them anymore. Many reported crimes are never investigated and not marked as a crime in the statistics.

The force can now deal with crimes as ‘Community resolutions’. These don’t count as crime! Nobody believes the statistics, not even the Police themselves.

Crime has changed over the last 20 years. But what you cannot get away from is this straight forward fact; the number of people in Prison has almost doubled in the last 20 years to 86,000. The prisons, many in private hands, are creaking at the seams. We have more people as a percentage of the population in prison than any other Western European country. It simply does not square with Govt claims.

On top of this, almost under the radar, the Govt has recently privatised 66% of the probation service. Many of their long serving most experienced personnel have left after being offered derisory packages from the Contractor, generally an American Company.

The new regime involves supervising offenders to a degree, but the latitude available not to call their failures a breach has widened. The larger payment for ‘results’ will tempt these companies to overlook as many wrong doings in the course of community sentences as possible. They get a bigger fee if they can claim the offender has complied with the court’s orders.

There was no mandate for this. But a cynical Govt will claim they were successful, when those in the know will think very differently.

The more you cut frontline officers, then eventually the fewer arrests can be made and the Govt will claim they have reduced crime further. It won’t be true! The number of arrests in many parts of the country has remained quite constant or fallen very slightly, as has the number of Criminal Lawyers – up to now. There will be differences here and there.

It would be true that crime has altered over the last 20 years. There has been the use of DNA, which has reduced home burglary. But other crimes have replaced it, such as street robbery and lower level drug dealing, often not detected. In my career as a lawyer, I have never encountered so many low level drug crimes, including dealing. I have never seen so many sexual crimes being alleged.

The other change, which has barely been noticed in the media, is cybercrime/ internet based crime.
The Police have had few resources to cover the many low level frauds, sales of stolen goods or
handling offences, which find themselves on the internet. This is in addition to sexual grooming or
related crimes.

The great British Public is not daft. They have been asking for a move back to more
Community policing for decades it seems, bemoaning the loss of the ‘bobby on the beat’. Now there
are none in reality.

It all started to go wrong in the Major to Blair years, with the introduction of the PCSO and the
closing of Regional Training Schools and ever lower numbers of truly community police officers. The
promise was that the PCSO’s would free up the real police who would be better paid to deal with the
‘important’ matters. Some chance! The relationship with public has become more and more remote.

As a consequence, people can’t be bothered to report crimes to an often disinterested voice which
probably has little time to investigate their loss. They will get the obligatory ‘crime number’ for an
offence which will never be part of the crime statistics either. They will likely never hear from the
police again, with an insurance Company picking up the bill. I have even known police officers
themselves find something stolen and go through just this process, never to hear anything
thereafter!

People having no contact with Police, have gradually lost respect. With the advent of
publicised appalling cover ups such as the Hillsborough tragedy, the fate of the police has been
sealed. Of course NO ONE DARES SPEAK OUT, for fear they may be targeted.

Speaking of targets; these have confused the proper role of policing. It should be a mantra to
maintain a calm community, who feel safe in the hands of their local force. It should not be about an
arbitrary target. WITH all discretion removed from the Constable and masses of dubiously useful
paperwork or computer work, the job has been finally destroyed.

I am sure it could be put right with a little hard work and imagination. How very sad, cynical and
politicised this has become.

Where is common sense?

Who has the will but UKIP to change it?