Nick Clegg went into the election saying that he would put ‘3000 more police officers on our streets’. Few will be surprised to hear that Clegg has broken his promise, and is supporting the cuts which are forcing thousands of our police out of their jobs. What this means in Cornwall is that up to 700 front-line police are going to be made redundant over the next few years.
Labour reduced crime when in government by 40% by investing in police and crime-tackling measures. Though many of these measures were draconian, and in the end threatened civil liberties – ID cards, the DNA database, excessive CCTV use and discriminatory stop-and-search tactics – crime did fall. How much of a part the economic boom had to play in this we cannot be sure, but nonetheless; the government’s measures are without doubt going to make us less safe.
The infamous bust came in 2008, and went into a long period of economic decline, caused by the global financial crisis. With our economy still weak, we have to ask – how will cutting police numbers deal with crime during this tense financial period? Unemployment rates are, by the government’s own admission, going to soar because of slashing social spending. Massive cuts in welfare and the rise in VAT (while corporation tax is being reduced) are going to create outrage among working and lower-middle class people who are already struggling. The government are putting lives at risk by making our streets less safe at a time when public unrest is high, and will only get higher. And since our welfare state is wafer-thin when compared to many Scandinavian countries, the austerity measures will mean the jobless will sink further into poverty and despair. The Resolution Foundation today revealed that over £6 billion in stealth tax-credit cuts to working families will be made. Not a good recipe for a peaceful citizenry.
An article in the New Statesman today says we must ‘prepare for a lot more social unrest’. The problem is, when anger does turn into violence, the cuts in police numbers aren’t going to help the situation. It appears the Lib Dem’s hoard of ‘Cleggisms’ – ie. betrayals and lies – is growing by the day.