In a letter to The Times published today, Lord Condon, Lord Stevens, Lord Blair, Sir Paul Stephenson and Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe warned of an ‘emasculation of British policing’. They argued that the ‘reduction of police and support staff by more than 30,000, the virtual destruction of neighbourhood policing and the inadvisable undermining of lawful police powers such as stop and search’ had finally taken their toll.
Meanwhile, Sir Tom Winsor said the criminal justice system was ‘in parts, failing’. According to The Guardian: ‘After years of funding cuts resulting in 20,000 fewer police officers, the chief inspector, who is deeply unpopular among many rank and file officers, who view him as the executor of the Tories’ police cuts, said they had influenced crime levels.’
The number of homicides was rising and the fall in crime had stalled. ‘There are indications that some forces are straining under significant pressure as they try to meet growing, complex and higher-risk demand with weakened resources,’ he said. The criminal justice system was ‘malfunctioning’, ‘dysfunctional and defective’, he added.
His words came after Tory leader candidate Boris Johnson promised to recruit an additional 20,000 police officers at a cost of £1.1bn a year. ‘The police undoubtedly do need more people,’ Winsor said. ‘Not all of that should be spent on hiring people. Some of that … should be spent on technology so they can be as efficient as possible.’