Coalition government Policing Minister Nick Herbert’s promise that the police’s front-line services would be protected after severe budgets cuts has been exposed as a lie with the news that yet another specialist unit that traces and recovers stolen cars is to be axed.
The Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (VCIS) has been highly successful in tracking down a significant number of the 150,000 cars stolen in Britain every year, but has been told its annual £300,000 grant has been cancelled.
This money is, of course, a mere fraction of what is spent on foreign aid each year, a large portion of which goes to helping establish ‘law and order’ in other countries.
In the past four years, the VCIS has recovered more than £48 million of stolen cars, arrested more than 200 thieves and reunited thousands of car owners with their property, according to a report in Police Review magazine.
The article went on to say that the 13 police officers and seven police staff who make up the unit, called its scrapping “short-sighted” and “unjust.”
According to the Automobile Association, the service was vital. “If you can take out a gang you can wipe out a crime wave for several months, so you need this specialist police activity,” an AA spokesman was quoted as saying.
In last October’s Spending Review, it was announced that the police funding would be cut incrementally until it totalled 20 percent by 2014-15.
At the time, Mr Herbert told parliament that “front-line services could be protected while achieving challenging savings.”
This was, of course, yet another lie. It is has since emerged that police forces up and down the country will have to cut at least 10,000 active officers and thousands more other staffers will also have to be fired.
Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, warned last year that police savings in back office costs and procurement would not be enough to absorb the cuts, as Mr Herbert has claimed.
“Police numbers will almost certainly have to fall once budget cuts start to bite,” Sir Hugh said.
Central funding to the police budget will fall to £9.3 billion in 2011-12, and to £8.8 billon the year after.
Compared to the billions spent on European Union membership, this figure is trifling, but, as always, the Westminster parties always put the interests of British people last.