Sunderland MP says fight will go on to protect policing as figures show big drop in force numbers

Bridget Phillipson
Bridget Phillipson
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A Wearside MP has vowed to “continue to fight” to protect policing levels after a drop in staff numbers was revealed.

Home Office figures show that the total number of Northumbria Police staff and officers fell from 6,720 in March 2010 to 5,102 in September 2015, while in Durham, the number fell from 2,602 to 2,111.

I will continue to fight for a fair funding deal for our area from the Conservative government in order to protect neighbourhood policing

MP Bridget Phillipson

The number of Northumbria Police officers dropped by more than 18%, and by 23% for Durham Constabulary.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics, released by trade union Unison, show that from September 2014 to September 2015, reported crimes to Northumbria Police increased by 14%, with a significant rise in violent and sexual offences.

For Durham Constabulary, reported crime went down by 2%, but still increased for violent and sexual offences.

Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson said: “We face big challenges around rising violent crime and the changing nature of crime – official figures haven’t recorded the growing problem of cybercrime or fraud.

“I will continue to fight for a fair funding deal for our area from the Government in order to protect neighbourhood policing.”

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “Northumbria Police has sustained the worst cuts in the country over the last four years.

“The Government’s spending review (2011/12 to 2014/15) has cut 26% of funding for the force. However, we have made every effort to lessen the impact on the public and continue to provide the high quality policing service our communities rightly deserve and expect.

“We are committed to maintaining officers in front-line policing, doing all we can to protect the numbers of 24/7 response officers and neighbourhood officers visible in communities; wherever possible seeking to make reductions in senior management and supervisory ranks. We have also seen the number of our very valued PCSOs reduce through these cuts.”

Gary Ridley, assistant chief officer for Durham Constabulary, said: “The ongoing austerity programme has had an obvious effect on police numbers, both in terms of officers and staff.

“However, for some years now we have been implementing a series of changes to the way we work in an effort to maintain our performance despite having fewer people.

“This includes collaborating with other forces so we can share and make best use of our resources; looking at innovative ways of using IT and initiatives like our ‘Checkpoint’ scheme, which seeks to reduce offending in the long term by addressing the issues which make people commit crime in the first place.”