Retired senior Sussex police officer Kevin Moore has this week accused the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) of double standards.
Earlier this week we reported that PCC Katy Bourne had said the future of policing was ‘being transformed’ with the new Prime Minister’s promise to recruit an additional 20,000 police officers nationwide.
However Kevin Moore, one time head of Sussex CID and a critic of what he sees as Sussex Police’s poor performance in recent months, has accused Ms Bourne of completely changing her views since Boris Johnson became PM.
While nationally the number of police officers has fallen by 25,000 since 2010 in Sussex they are down from a peak of 3,200 in 2010 to around 2,500 today, a reduction of 20 per cent.
“When Theresa May was in post, Ms Bourne supported the cuts made to policing and believed that local funding through the council tax precept was the answer to police funding. I wrote to her on this issue and I am still awaiting a reply,” says Mr Moore.
He highlights an interview Ms Bourne gave to the BBC shortly after being elected Chair of the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners (APCC) where she talked about the announcement of the intention to increase police officer numbers by 20,000.
Mr Moore says: “She said that the move was to be welcomed as it would go someway to improving the lot of policing following the severe cuts over recent years. To all intents and purposes, the country has no more money available now than it did then. It is just that Mr Johnson appears to have got his priorities right whereas his predecessor clearly didn’t!
…a point in time in terms of police officer numbers which Ms Bourne has consistently said we would never see again!
“I was also particularly interested in Ms Bourne’s response because it appeared to differ from the views that she has expressed to me over the past 18 months during our various communications including my visit, with colleagues, to her office in February of this year.
“During the time that Theresa May was Home Secretary and subsequently Prime Minister Ms Bourne consistently supported Government policy on cuts to police budgets. And I believe she has misled the public of Sussex into believing that everything involved in the policing of the county is fine and that officers and staff are coping with demand. This is despite me regularly pointing out that things are far from good and indeed the system has been creaking if not falling apart.”
Mr Moore says he doesn’t want to constantly go over what he sees to be the failings with policing in Sussex. What he does say though is that while he and others have been lobbying for proper funding for policing all that Ms Bourne and her fellow PCCs have achieved is a massive increase in council tax precept.
“Thankfully, Mr Johnson has clearly been listening! As a result, on entering office he has immediately seen the need to recruit 20,000 additional officers! This will get us back to where we were in 2010, a point in time in terms of police officer numbers which Ms Bourne has consistently said we would never see again!” says Mr Moore.
“What I would really really like to hear though is what has brought about Ms Bourne’s change of heart and her wholehearted support for what Mr Johnston is putting in place when this has never been evident before,” he concludes.
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