We’ve taken a look at whether Labour’s pledge to put 10,000 extra police officers on the streets will help, or may in fact hinder, the UK’s struggling prison and probation services.
As General Election campaigning gets into full swing, this week has seen the release of manifestos from all of the major parties.
However, it’s the Labour party’s manifesto in particular that has caught the attention of those working in the prison and probation service, as Jeremy Corbyn’s party promises to fund 10,000 extra police officers should he be elected in June.
Bobbies on the Beat
Citing an overall rise in crime – including a 42% rise in gun crime, 24% rise in knife crime, and 21% rise in homicides – since the Tories took over in 2010, Labour say they are committed to putting more ‘bobbies on the beat’, providing communities with a network of local police officers who will make their streets safer.
Labour have also promised not to cut the police budget, a promise that they say Theresa May’s government has already reneged on.
Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott believes that Conservative cuts and austerity ideology are to blame for the rise in crime, saying, “The Police Federation say that austerity is causing real issues and forces are struggling to cope.”
Too Much or Not Enough?
In retaliation, Conservative Policing Minister Brandon Lewis called the idea ‘nonsensical’ and claimed that the sums in Labour’s manifesto simply wouldn’t cover the £300 million expected to be needed to fund the policy.
There is a worry that having to fund an extra 10,000 jobs will place further strain on the already struggling police service. However, Labour insists that funding would come from reversing cuts to Capital Gains tax, which fell from 28% to 20% under the current government – a decrease that is estimated to have cost public services £2.7bn.
With an estimated 20,000 fall in officer numbers since the Conservative government took over in 2010, perhaps the correct question to be asking is whether Labour’s new policy does enough? If Labour is elected in June, it remains to be seen whether providing funding to replace just half of that number will ease the strain on the prison and probation service or whether the service will continue to struggle.
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