“Cuts have consequences”: cutting crime?

20 May 2015

The pro-reform statements keep on coming. Today Theresa May set out her continuing reform agenda to the Police Federation’s annual conference. She restated her policies of “more for less”, devolution of power to the front line and reform of the workforce. She went on to show that there is far more scope to change police spending, in particular by reducing demand (the focus of this Reform paper in 2014). She announced new funding to provide beds rather than police cells for people suffering from mental health problems. She supported much closer working between police and fire and rescue services. She rightly argued that the police can continue to improve services and achieve greater savings as a result.

She gently but firmly rejected the Federation’s conference tagline, “cuts have consequences”. That was presumably meant to be a threat. It had little force given that crime fell significantly in the last Parliament at the same time as police budgets were reduced.

There was great consistency between the ideas in the speech today and those in the Prime Minister’s speech on the NHS on Monday. Coherence across the Government’s reform agenda was not always evident in the last Parliament. It would make the world of difference this time.

Andrew Haldenby, Director, Reform

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