Police Numbers — 18 Jan 2001

I beg to move,

That this House condemns the Government's failure to fulfil its manifesto commitment strongly to support the police; notes that police numbers in England and Wales were rising when the Government came into office; regrets the decline in police numbers of more than 2,500 since the General Election, including the loss of 1,900 constables, contrary to the Government's manifesto pledge to get more officers back on the beat; further regrets the dramatic decline of one third in the number of special constables; notes the comments of senior police figures that policing is in a state of crisis; condemns the Government's decision to release before serving half their prison sentences more than 200 criminals convicted of assaulting police officers; notes with regret the low level of police morale and the 60 per cent. rise in voluntary resignations from the police since the Government came to power; and calls on the Government urgently to take measures to improve morale in the police force, to restore police numbers at least to the levels they inherited, and to increase the visibility of the police in order better to protect the public at a time when violent crime is soaring.

The police have our strong support. They are in the front line of the fight against crime and disorder. We will . . . get more officers back on the beat.

the police have my wholehearted support and the wholehearted support of this new Government. We will do all that we can to ensure our police service is strong and effective. We will also support you by providing the protection and the resources you require.

a crisis of no confidence, a crisis of no cash and a crisis of no colleagues.

We do not have enough officers to police London with confidence.

Police forces are struggling with the stark facts that police numbers have fallen, workload has increased and budgets have not grown.

Police authorities are warning of a tight year ahead, despite the seemingly generous 10 per cent. funding increase announced in November . . . local budgets are set to increase by a more modest 5 per cent . . . Police forces face increased costs of 5.6 per cent. just to keep their heads above water . . . this will leave many authorities with significant shortfalls.

will be facing cuts again next year.

the visible presence of the police on our streets is a traditional strength of British policing which is more, not less important in today's environment.

I am frightened to death. It's unbearable . . . I can't live like this. The police, as individuals, are very good, but we need more of them on the streets, patrolling the estate.

All additional officers are welcome but if you have previously failed to recruit adequately, then any increase will look positive.

I am not convinced that any realistic solution is in sight . . . The current shortfall in numbers is however placing unacceptable strains on my colleagues and is selling your constituents short.

That is what the Labour Government are doing to our police force in Hampshire.

to recruit teenage volunteers in the absence of money for more uniformed officers.

In my force best value bureaucracy is costing over £400,000 a year . . . and we are in danger of sinking under a sea of targets and measures.

Is Charles Clarke, the Home Office Minister, being fed so much nonsense that he isn't aware that police officers nowadays have far more paperwork to complete than ever before? . . . We could all make a list of the additional paperwork that creates a bureaucratic nightmare for officers who want to spend more time actually delivering the goods . . . The situation is far more frustrating nowadays than at any time in my 28 years' service. The public is getting a raw deal.

alienating the police at a crucial time.

The police constable is central to the success of our police service. In difficult, demanding and often dangerous circumstances, the constable is the physical presence of the law on our streets . . . the visible presence of the police on our streets is a traditional strength of British policing which is more . . . important in today's environment.

The current shortfall in numbers is . . . placing unacceptable strains on my colleagues and is selling your constituents short.

The reason why violent crime has risen by 8 per cent, violence against the person has

by 7 per cent and robberies have


21 per cent is because there is an acute shortage of frontline officers. The visible presence, and consequential deterrent, of police patrolling our neighbourhoods is falling at the same time as street crime is rising.

We are concerned about the sharp rise in street crime. An increase in a uniformed presence on our streets will help tackle that issue.

You've got to have feet on the beat to put hands on collars.

I beg to move, To leave out from "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:

"notes that the number of police officers in England and Wales fell by 1,476 between 1993 and 1997-98 under budgets set by the previous administration, whilst the strength of the Metropolitan

We will . . . get more officers back on the beat.

In future, the number of constables in a force will be a matter for local decision, not for the Home Secretary.

It is not a matter for me.--[ Official Report , 26 April 1994; Vol. 242, c. 113.]

perverse incentives to recruit police officers instead of civilians.

perverse incentives to recruit police officers

to provide funding for an additional 5,000 police officers over three years.--[ Official Report , 29 January 1997; Vol. 289, c. 457.]

If the Home Office could afford almost 3,000 more police officers when you came to power--and did so on a smaller budget--where has all the money gone?

Over the last few years we have experienced an increasingly poor budget settlement. Looking forward we cannot see any hope of a significant improvement so we are forced to examine how we work to see what changes are necessary to ensure we are as efficient as possible and the most effective service is provided.

Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question:--

The House divided: Ayes 154, Noes 265.

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Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con0 135 (+2 tell)085.6%
Independent1 0050.0%
Lab263 (+2 tell) 0063.5%
LDem0 19040.4%
Total:264 154067.4%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

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no rebellions

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