Sheffield MP warns Government funding cuts will 'break the police'

MP Louise Haigh
MP Louise Haigh

A Sheffield MP has warned that Government funding cuts will 'break the police'.

Labour MP Louise Haigh, who represents Heeley, spoke out after the Government's budget was unveiled by the Chancellor yesterday.

The Shadow Policing Minister warned that continued funding cuts 'will break the police' and pointed out that South Yorkshire Police had lost one quarter of its officers since 2010.

The Government offered no extra funding for the police service yesterday, despite warnings from senior officers that the current budget settlement puts forces at risk of losing a further 6,000 bobbies as crime rockets.

Ms Haigh said: "This budget proves the Government cannot be trusted to keep our communities safe.

“Thanks to years of Conservative cuts, police numbers are at historic lows, at a time when crime is rocketing. You can’t protect the public on the cheap."

She added: "This is the grim legacy of seven years of Tory austerity - dedicated police officers fighting hard to keep the public safe with fewer officers per head than ever before.

"Labour will recruit another 10,000 new police officers to help keep us safe."

Labour Party figures suggest there were 2,915 police officers employed in South Yorkshire in 2010 compared to 2,362 now - a 23 per cent reduction.

They also show that over the last two years, South Yorkshire Police's budget has dropped from £189,943,793 in the 2015/16 financial year compared to £186,431,848 this year.

South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, said the force has had to make savings of £73 million over the last seven years, which he said had 'stretched the service'.

"Since 2010, South Yorkshire Police has had to cut its budget by £73 million," he said.

"This has resulted in big losses of police officers and staff and stretched the service.

"Neighbourhood policing is being put back, but it cannot be at old levels of service. The police are doing what they can with vastly diminished resources and in conjunction with partners.

“We are just putting the budget together for next year but at the moment expect that substantial savings will still be necessary."

Zuleika Payne, chairman of the South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation, said: "Despite continual reminders of this Government’s desire to support the public services, the budget announcement has done very little to inspire confidence that this is the case, certainly as far as policing is concerned.

"We need a clear funding strategy and one which extends beyond the next year. It has to be far reaching enough for the service to be able to plan effectively and efficiently. Furthermore, it has to be sustainable if we are going to keep our communities safe and deliver the service they deserve."