Cuts to Sunderland’s 24-hour police offices tell us austerity isn’t working

The police office in Waterloo Place
The police office in Waterloo Place
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If austerity comes at a cost to safety and security then it surely must be ditched.

Balancing the books is important, but when that balancing act impacts on the health and wellbeing of the community it is unsustainable and unwanted.

Today we are told the number of police offices open round the clock across Wearside is to be cut from three to just one.

In the grand scheme of things it may sound like a minor inconvenience, or even, at a stretch, the price of progress.

Unfortunately, it feels like another cut to already overstretched services.

Police numbers and resources have been at the forefront of politics in recent weeks on the national stage. One of the main planks of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party manifesto was the funding of police and the number of officers in the force.

Police on patrol

Police on patrol

He tapped into people’s concerns for safety and protection against crime.

The points raised will have resonated with the Sunderland public who have found out today that their front counter police services are being hit.

Of course, they can still phone the police if they have crime concerns or useful information.

And there is certainly no suggestion that there will be fewer officers on the beat.

But it feels like the thin end of the wedge.

Being able to walk in off the street and report crimes to the police face to face and around the clock offers reassurance to the majority of the public.

The loss of this service will be felt keenly by many in the community.

The cost of austerity is beginning to feel like a price simply not worth paying, particularly now the thin blue line has just got thinner.