During the Easter break, it has been good to spend a few days with my family after a very busy few weeks. But it also made me think of those who are working during our holiday times and unable to spend time with their families, including our police.
Before Easter I spoke in Parliament on the difficult job our brave police officers do with very limited resources.
Following the huge rise in violent crime in London, the cuts to our police service have been highlighted, including those to Derbyshire police.
Since 2010, the funding for our police has been cut by over a quarter and the number of police officers in Derbyshire has reduced by 411, almost 20% less than the 2,000+ they had in 2010. Although High Peak is a relatively safe area compared with the rest of the UK, crime is rising as it is elsewhere, and our police now cover an area of 25 miles by 15 miles from just two police stations.
Even the Home Office now accepts that police cuts are related to increased crime, with a leaked document stating, “Resources dedicated to serious violence have come under pressure and charge rates have dropped. This may have encouraged offenders.”
In Glossopdale there is concern about rising crime, and we are seeing more criminals coming across the ‘County Lines’ from other areas, especially Greater Manchester and Sheffield. Crime, especially theft, was one of the principal areas of concern at a recent meeting of Glossop Business Club that I attended.
Having spent a 12 hour shift on a Friday night recently with our police based at Glossop, I know that our police officers are incredibly resilient, and I pay tribute to every one of them. However, I am concerned that they now regularly have to respond to incidents, including domestic violence and antisocial behaviour involving large groups, on their own.
None of our police officers should have to put their own safety on the line. That is why the cuts to our police service are wrong, and why I and other Labour MPs are fighting for more resources for them.
Our police are dealing with a huge increase in cyber-crime, terrorism, human trafficking and child sexual exploitation. These are all crimes being reported in High Peak but need specialist officers who work across Derbyshire.
High Peak still has one of the lowest rates of crime in the country. You can see monthly updates of crimes figures at www.police.uk under ‘Find your neighbourhood’.
On Tuesday (April 10) I hosted an open meeting with Inspector Phil Booth who is in charge of policing across High Peak. We have seen Chapel and New Mills police stations close, and fewer officers and PCSOs. But our police still do an incredible job, I believe they make the best of the resources they have, and I am giving them my full support.
That includes fighting for more resources for our police, and I will continue to do that. I hope that the growing evidence that we need more police will help to make sure that happens.