By Calvin at 10:30 GMT, 9 years ago
On 29th October the Independent newspaper ran a short story about how spending on crime prevention work has been reduced by £35m since 2010. Here’s the link
This shouldn’t come as any surprise since the coalition government set out to reduce public spending across the board and the police service and the ‘crime prevention’ budget for things like CCTV, better street lighting and police visits to schools weren’t going to be treated any differently. What has surprised me with this latest story a little is the sheer scale of the cut. According to The Independent report the budget has fallen from £61m in 2010 to 24.6m for 2012-13, which is a 60% reduction over the two years. Compare this with the 20% reduction in the policing budget over five years and we can see that spending on ‘crime prevention’ both within and outside the police service is getting a much bigger hit.
I’ve reported in this blog previously that ‘crime prevention’ budget cuts in the police service have been disproportionate with some forces loosing as many as 75% of its full time crime prevention staff, so this latest story seems to add to wider concerns that real spending on crime prevention across the board is losing its appeal to government.
Of course, if you’re going to reduce the crime prevention budget or dispose of the Crime Prevention Officer role now is the time to do it! Falling crime levels - at their lowest for three decades - and an economic recession hitting police budgets provide just the right excuses to make these changes. Maybe we’ll end up like the Dutch Police who ditched crime prevention entirely some seven years ago (to be picked up by the local authorities).
In December I’m attending the very last ‘former and serving’ Camden Police Crime Prevention Officers’ Xmas lunch at the usual Greek Restaurant in Camden Town. Why the last? Because 2012 has marked the departure of the last Crime Prevention Officer from the Met police (from Camden) and that person has switched off the lights.