The contempt the Government has for police officers is clear as the Chancellor prioritises potholes over police officers.
That’s the response from Police Federation of England and Wales Chair John Apter to Philip Hammond’s budget which was unveiled this afternoon.
There was no new money announced for frontline policing with the only reference to the service being a £160m investment to maintain specialist counter terrorism provision - less than half of the £420m the Government has allocated to deal with pot holes.
Mr Apter said: “This is just another example of the contempt in which the Government holds police officers. What does it say when a Government prioritises potholes over policing?
“This budget was the perfect opportunity to address the overwhelming issues facing the police service in England and Wales – but hard-working officers on the street have been ignored once again.
“We welcome the investment in counter terrorism capability but given the threat level this country is facing it is a necessity dressed up a gift. And the very minimum which is required with more than 700 live counter terrorism investigations.
“What about my colleagues who work on neighbourhood policing teams, the response officers who answer the public’s 999 calls and the CID investigators securing convictions of those who terrorise our societies. There was nothing for them.
“I am angry and disappointed, but I can’t say I am shocked. This level of distain is what has come to symbolise this Government,” he said.
Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered this third budget today (29 October) which will be the last one before the UK exits the European Union in March next year.
The key announcements included:
• Confirmation of an extra £20.5bn for the NHS over the next five years
• £2bn-a-year investment into mental health services part of which will be used to fund a fleet of dedicated mental health ambulances
• An extra £1bn for armed forces, for cyber-capabilities and the UK’s new nuclear submarine programme
• £900m in business rates relief for small businesses and £650m to rejuvenate high streets
• Extra £500m for preparations for leaving the EU
Mr Apter continued: “All public services have felt the effects of austerity and the proposed investment in mental health services will go some way to easing the pressure on frontline police officers by proxy.
“But the chancellor has failed to directly address the multitude of problems facing the police service which could be immediately eased by proper and prompt investment.”
Last week the Home Affairs Select Committee published a damning report into the state of policing which was highly critical of the Home Office and its management of the police service.
Mr Apter said: “I was hopeful that the HASC report would have served as a wake-up call for the Prime Minster and her cabinet and be the catalyst which would galvanise them into action - but no.
“In her keynote speech at her party conference Theresa May announced that the end of austerity had come a claim repeated by Mr Hammond today.
“Well it certainly doesn’t look that way to me or my members some of whom are having to rely on charity to make ends meet, others who are suffering mental ill heath caused by the stress of the massive workloads they are carrying, or who are put at risk every day because the numbers on their teams have been decimated.
“What the police service needed was a lifeline and we needed it today. The Government are jeopardising the safety of the public who they have a duty to protect and I am appalled by their attitude,” Mr Apter concluded.
The Chancellor said that the Home Secretary will make an announcement on the Police Funding Settlement for the next financial year in December.
The Prime Minster, the Home Secretary and the Policing Minister have all previously suggested that the issue of police spending will be addressed in the Comprehensive Spending Review which is expected to take place in spring next year.