“UNACCEPTABLE” – that’s what Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has called the 20,000 cut in the number of police officers under the last two Tory Governments. Labour has pledged to provide 10,000 extra officers if it wins the General Election.
Labour’s new police officers would work as community police officers in England and Wales. Jeremy Corbyn will announce the new policy today. He is expected to point out that Labour cares about the safety of our communities, and community policing – using visible, local, accessible uniformed officers working in areas which they can get to know well – is the best way to improve that safety.
Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott – who is the Labour MP for East London’s Hackney North & Stoke Newington constituency – has confirmed that the police would welcome the extra police numbers. She pointed out that although the Metropolitan police have not cut the numbers of officers, they have cut the number of civilians working for them – meaning that there are fewer officers available to carry out community policing.
Labour has said that it would fund the extra police by not implementing the cuts in Capital Gains Tax (CGT) which the Tories had planned before the General Election. The Tories want to cut the higher rate of CGT from 28% to 20% and the lower rate from 18% to 10% and Labour says this will cost £2.7 billion over the next five years – providing plenty of money with which to provide additional police.
The Tories have said that Labour has already promised to use that money to restore other cuts in public services, casting doubt on whether the extra police can really be afforded. Brandon Lewis, the current policing minister, announced that Jeremy Corbyn wants to “take away the powers the police need to keep us safe” – without clarifying what on earth he was on about.