Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Labour to force vote on police cuts

Ed Miliband says a vote in Parliament rather than strike action is the best way to prevent 16,000 police officers being axed
Ed Miliband says a vote in Parliament rather than strike action is the best way to prevent 16,000 police officers being axed

A vote in Parliament rather than strike action is the best way to prevent 16,000 officers being axed from the police service, Ed Miliband has said.

During a visit to Lewisham, one of the London boroughs hit by rioting earlier this month, the leader of the Labour Party spoke to police officers, community volunteers and young people about the causes and impact of rioting earlier this month.

Asked about news that civilian staff working for Nottinghamshire Police had gone on strike, Mr Miliband said: "I don't think that strike action is the solution.

"The solution is for the Government to hear the message that I'm putting forward, that others are putting forward, which is that they shouldn't be going ahead with this scale of cuts, 16,000 fewer officers, and I'm determined to force a vote in Parliament on this issue.

"After the riots, where we saw the importance of a visible policing presence, I think people really appreciate how wrong-headed this decision to go ahead with the cuts is."

Earlier this year, Home Secretary Theresa May insisted that the average reductions for forces' grants in cash terms would be 4% in the first year, 5% in the second, 2% in the third, and 1% in the fourth.

She said pay freezes and a reduction in red tape would mean the impact of the reforms would be "less severe" than people feared.

Mr Miliband said he had seen "both sides of what needs to happen" during his visit to Lewisham.

He said: "You need the strong law and order response, which is why I'm saying very clearly to the Government they shouldn't be going ahead with their police cuts.

"Sixteen thousand fewer officers is the wrong thing to do."

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