Lib Dems call on Labour leaders and PCCs to set out how they would cut Northumbria Police budget following Burnham conference announcement

October 3, 2015 9:17 AM

Following new Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham's announcement that Labour will support a 10% cut to the police's budget, Lib Dem leader of the Opposition on Newcastle City Council Cllr Anita Lower has challenged Labour PCC for Northumbria Vera Baird to set out clearly how she will achieve this.

Cllr Lower, a senior member of the LGA's national stronger and safer communities board, expressed surprise at Labour's new-found keenness to pursue cuts to policing, and contrasted Mr Burnham's announcement with recent statements from Northumbria's Police Commissioner, Vera Baird.

Cllr Lower said "After spending the last five years opposing every single cut the Coalition made, making awful warnings about the inability of the thin blue line to cope, and pledging to scrap Police and Crime Commissioners, Jeremy Corbyn's Labour frontbench now want to keep expensive and unnecessary police commissioners and want to literally decimate the police's budget.

"With police and crime commissioner elections on the horizon, Labour must make it absolutely clear where they intend the axe to fall. It is now incumbent on the Labour controlled NE Combined Authority and the region's Labour police and crime commissioners to specify precisely which services will be cut, and in particular, which locations will see reduced policing.

We have already seen that in Northumbria, unlike in many other parts of the country, crime rates have risen under the current Labour PCC. Along with Andy Burnham, she and her colleagues must justify their poor record to the electorate, and publish a clear plan setting out how they would manage their proposed 10% budget reduction. I also hope the proposal will be properly publicised in every media release and election leaflet issued by Labour's PCC in the forthcoming PCC election campaign.

"Liberal Democrats continue to believe that PCCs and their offices of political cronies are bureaucratic, unnecessary, and wasteful. Lib Dems will be contesting the PCC election on a platform of axing these positions and transferring their powers to the Combined Authority and local policing boards, allowing the police to focus on what the public really want - effective neighbourhood policing."