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Ed Balls MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, in response to the publication of the Government’s Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill, said the following:
On the Government’s plans for elected police and crime commissioners:
“At its heart this goes against a 150 year tradition of keeping politics out of policing. It raises the very real prospect of a politician telling a Chief Constable how to do their job. Even the government’s own consultation confirms the very real fear that plans for elected police chiefs will see money spent on bringing politicians into running the police instead of on the frontline.
“People will be rightly angry if the government can find the money for this at a time when the police are facing twenty per cent cuts that will mean thousands fewer police officers. When this controversial top-down experiment comes with an estimated cost of £100million – the equivalent of 600 full time police officers – it’s time for the government to think again.”
On ‘spin doctors’ for elected police chiefs:
“While police officers are being cut, it’s shocking that Ministers have told private meetings that their new elected police commissioners will have political spin doctors at a cost of £2 million. This risks politicising the police further and at huge cost to the public, yet a single elected police chief for an area as large as the West Midlands, Greater Manchester or North Wales will do little to improve local police accountability.”
On replacing full time police officers with volunteers:
“If true the government’s plan to recruit thousands of part time volunteer police, at the same time as twenty per cent cuts will mean losing our most experienced officers, will confirm people’s worst fears about what David Cameron’s ‘big society’ really means. Special constables play a really important role, but volunteers are no substitute for the thousands of experienced full-time officers who face the chop.”