A top cop’s withering denouncement of the cost of austerity should come as a surprise to no-one in our community.
Austerity has done nothing to benefit anyone in Sunderland, so when Durham Constabulary’s Chief Constable Michael Barton describes it as ‘traumatic,’ the news barely registers.
Northumbria Police chiefs have been equally concerned about the brutal cuts to force budgets.
Chief Constable Winton Keenan says the number of officers has gone down by more than 1,000 since 2010.
Read more: Officer numbers down 1,038 since 2010, reveals Northumbria Police chief
One look at the city’s crime figures tells us everything we need to know about austerity.
At the last count, the number of people caught with guns and knives in Sunderland had increased by a third.
Crime overall, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has gone up by 30%. It translates to a rate of 117 crimes per 1,000 residents. The national average is 82.
Labour has long argued that the reason for these crime figures are police budget cuts and fewer bobbies on the beat.
Read more: Gun and knife crime increases in Sunderland, new figures reveal
The statistics appear to bear them out.
Austerity has hit every part of our society, not just the police forces that protect the public. It’s time to bring it to an end.
Prime Minister Theresa May hinted at the Tory conference in Birmingham that austerity will end when a good Brexit deal is secured.
She said: “A decade after the financial crash, people need to know that the austerity it led to is over and that their hard work has paid off.”
We remain sceptical that Mrs May can secure a good Brexit deal, but even if she does, she must understand it wasn’t ‘hard work’ that paid off ... it was suffering!