Police cuts an opportunity, our director writes

Wednesday, 02 September, 2015

The ongoing decline in police numbers presents us with an opportunity to rebalance public policy, our director Richard Garside writes in a letter published in today's Guardian.

A decade of generous police budgets up to the 2010 General Election, Richard argues, was 'disastrous for a balanced approach to public policy':

'Instead of a comprehensive network of youth workers, social workers and crisis health teams, we ended up with a proliferation of men and women in uniform with the power of arrest. Mainstream services were crowded out. Police officers took on a multitude of roles: probation officer, social worker, schools liaison, disaster manager, event steward, to name but a few.'

Budget cuts are 'a threat to the powerful police lobby'. For everyone else they are an opportunity to rebuild much-needed social institutions, he concludes.

A 'great' idea if it could happen, tweeted Lynne Owens, chief constable of Surrey police.

Richard has previously written on this site about the 'non-crisis of policing' and offered a longer view on the debate over police numbers.