We are having to see a reduction in police of 700 officers and 500 support staff through cuts of £47 million over the next four years. The amount they get from Council Tax will not be increased. Excuse me, but do we not have a say in this? Do we not have a say in whether Devon wastes money on planning strategy reports while our homes and lives go unprotected?
Torridge spends £14 million a year on 270 staff, while we have to lose 1/5 of the police. Also, our military heroes are being treated like plastic milk bottles tossed in the recycling boxes. It’s a disgrace. These people risk life and limb to safeguard our precious democracy. What does the chief executive do? What do the staff of the council tax collections department do? What do they risk in order to have their jobs? In order to tell us how we should be living our lives? And to impose their will, right or wrong, on us?
I used to be a police officer. I talk with some experience. That experience with Devon and Cornwall Constabulary was not the finest and D&C are not my favourite group of people, but my attitude towards them has been transformed by the police and support staff in my local area who have been utterly brilliant, and get my unquestioned support, spreading into the Constabulary as a whole, such that my instinct is now to support their good work rather than, not so long ago, to have a very negative attitude. The police in this area do an excellent job and it is due to their efforts that it is relatively crime free. But statisticians will look, see the lack of crime and see the need to cut staff here. Errrr … no-oh! The REASON there is so little crime is BECAUSE the police are here and do such a good job.
In Holsworthy in February there was a massive 21 “crimes” including 10 anti-social behaviour orders. 1 burglary, 3 violent crimes and 7 “others” … a veritable crime wave! I wonder if the ASB’s push it up from a low crime area (2%) to a below average crime area (because the figures are 2.9%). But not so long ago, we did have a growing drugs problem and its associated crimes. Crime was on the increase. The police have done a magnificent job here. And it is down to the police, not to the criminals who have suddenly decided to behave themselves or to move away of their own volition.
Get rid of Torridge and pay for the policing (they want to cut) of the whole of Devon and Cornwall – that’s an area which contains the second largest county in the country, and is as far from west to east as it is from the eastern end of Devon to London (and have £9 million to spare over the four years). The money we waste on Torridge, serving just 65,000 people, could cover all of that – that’s approximately 1.5 million people – 1.5 million benefiting from the sacrifice 65,000 would have to make in saying goodbye to Torridge. Can we bring ourselves to do that? That’s 700 officers and 500 support staff having vital jobs by sacrificing 270 at Torridge. Which would you rather have? 1 staff member for every 240 people in Torridge, or 1 police officer for every 428 people, cut to 1 for every 535 people?
Get rid of another authority and pay for solid economic regeneration in areas which provide real jobs not admin. All you need is the right people being employed in the right positions. You don’t need local authorities if you have proper management in a more central position. The type of government is not at issue. Any form of government is open to corruption and mismanagement. But employ the right people and any form of government can be made to work to the benefit of those it is supposed to serve (… oh, and that’d be us, not our servants).
Of course, the police are doing everything wrong, aren’t they? They should be taking a leaf out of the banker’s handbook. If they let crime spiral out of control, the chief constable will get a multi-million pound bonus and we will have to have more police, not less because everyone is so frightened. And then, of course, we’d have to bring in the army to assist, which would solve that problem as well. There ya go, you see … Simples!