Slash police budgets to reverse mission creep

Monday, 7 September 2015

Slashing police budgets provides us with the opportunity to rebalance public policy, writes our Director Richard Garside in an article appearing in The Guardian today.

The generous police spending settlements of the last Labour government fuelled police mission creep into almost all areas of public service, crowding out other responses to a range of social problems, Richard argues. 

So much has the remit of the police been stretched that, as Steve White, chair of the Police Federation for England and Wales, points out, 84 per cent of calls to the police relate to 'non-crime incidents'. 

And so, Richard argues:

'Far from being a threat, cuts to police budgets and further reductions in police numbers are an opportunity to rebalance public policy. Youth and social workers, professionals in health and education, local authorities and civil society organisations should be providing the default response to a range of social issues that are frequently treated as criminal problems.'

You can read a letter on this topic by Richard published in The Guardian last week. He has also previously written on this site about the 'non-crisis of policing' and offered a longer view on the debate over police numbers.

Update, 10 September 2015: The Guardian has published a response to Richard's article by a serving police inspector who blogs under the name of 'Nathan Constable'.