The terrible events in Paris have brought an immediate response from Government in committing additional funding for the SAS, armed police officers and intelligence services. The need for such resource to tackle an attack on the streets of Britain is obvious.
Clearly, preventing such attacks occurring in the first place is of paramount importance and neighbourhood policing must continue to be supported as the foundation of a pro-active defence.
Prior to the Paris attacks, and amidst suggestions of 25-40% cuts, the Government invited Police and Crime Commissioners to submit their views on future funding for police forces.
In my response I made clear to Home Secretary Theresa May, as did others, that following the severe budgetary cuts of the past five years there is no slack left. Further funding cuts will threaten the frontline and, in particular, neighbourhood policing.
I know from attending over 320 community meetings since being elected, how highly the public regard the work of community-based Police officers, support officers and staff. One of the many benefits of this partnership approach is that vital intelligence comes to the ears of the police early and snippets of information can be pieced together centrally to give early warning of the most serious of crimes.
Since the events in Paris I have met and spoken specifically to some senior community leaders and our senior police officers. All are of the opinion that the strong community networks, formal and informal, and excellent partnership working we have in Cleveland, are an essential line of defence against such horrific attacks occurring here.
We must not weaken these links and networks and I will continue to urge the Home Secretary and Prime Minister to take on board the advice they are receiving nationally and locally to safeguard neighbourhood policing at all cost. Now is not the time to be cutting policing.
Posted on Monday 23rd November 2015