Those comments come just a day after a MP report said that public confidence and trust in the police is breaking down as forces struggle to respond to crime because of government cuts. A report by the Public Accounts Committee found that funding for policing is down by almost one-fifth since the Tory government came to power and there are now fewer police officers and staff because of cuts.
Sputnik spoke to Simon Harding, Associate Professor in Criminology at the University of West London about the issues between the British government and the police.
Sputnik: What do you make of the comments by the home secretary that police need to do more?
Simon Harding: Well I think it has a tone of panic to it, that’s my concern and I understand that the police are a little angered by those comments and I can understand their anger having been out on ride along with the police over the past few weeks. I found they were very stretched and working very hard.
They are actually working to a brief that that seems to have no boundaries to it. We seem to get the police to do anything and everything from road traffic accidents and littering to stabbings and terrorism.
Sputnik: Can the police survive with the current level of funding and if they have to find the money to plug the pensions gap?
Simon Harding: It is, it’s going to make it even more stretched, what we have to understand it’s not just about having police visible on the streets although in some communities that certainly important but one of the roles of the police is to gather intelligence from the community and by having that intelligence they can create pictures of what happening in terms of the crime scene.
When a crime takes place they are more advanced in their ability to tackle and resolve it. Without that community intelligence, they are effectively doing their job with one hand tied behind their back.
Sputnik: With the rate of crime in London, do you think the government needs to react rather than urging the police to do more?
Now that statutory duty that was into the Crime and Disorder Act of 1998, 2o years we have had a duty for these agencies to work together to reduce crime. What’s happened with austerity is each of those agencies have effectively retreated into their silos or bunkers and doing the minimum work to their own remit and brief. So partnership working has reduced enormously and in addition to that and the reduction of the 20,000 police officers, we have seen across England and Wales the reduction of 50 or 60 thousand project officers and community safety staff.
Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Simon Harding and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.