Devon and Cornwall Police warn Government cuts of 20 percent over 4 years will mean 700 fewer police on the beat and cuts of 300 in support staff. The reductions will take police numbers in Devon and Cornwall down to levels last seen in 2003 before Labour boosted police numbers to cut crime.
At the same time the Government appears determined to impose elected police commissioners on an unenthusiastic public. That will waste another 1.3 million for the elections alone (the equivalent of 50 officers) and then there will be support staff and salaries on top. How will an elected police commissioner be able to represent properly the very diverse communities of Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly? I am also concerned that this will lead to the politicisation of the police, ending centuries of independence. It’s clear that Liberal Democrats, including those in the South West don’t support this, but like so many of the damaging things this Government is doing they look set to just nod it through.