The national and local media are carrying reports of anti-terrorism raids and arrests in three different areas of Sheffield and one in Chesterfield. Counter-terrorism police and MI5 officers say they have broken up a suspected Christmas bomb plot and describe the arrests as significant. We await developments.
Meanwhile, an important government adviser – Neil Basu, the senior coordinator for counter-terrorism – says that the reckless cuts to neighbourhood policing have been "a disaster for policing in this country". Both David Cameron and Theresa May were specifically advised of the inevitable outcome of their cuts in police budgets, but both chose to make them whilst cutting the tax bills for the wealthiest and those with the biggest incomes.
After a long period of year-on-year cuts in reported crimes, the Conservatives have yet again reversed the trends.
- Violent crime is up by 19% and knife crime is up 26%.
- For the very first time last year, 2 million crimes went unsolved with more criminals getting off the hook than ever before.
Well, if you cut police numbers by 20,000 and put counter-terrorism police under such strain that some cases are simply not being investigated, it’s little surprise that crimes aren’t getting solved. There are now fewer police officers per head than at any time on record.
It’s rather like a variation of the old Tommy Cooper joke, with the government minister asking “Doctor, each time I cut police numbers, the number of crimes go up. What shall I do?”, and the Doctor responds “Well stop cutting police numbers then.”
But, instead of listening to the answer and acting on it, the Prime Minister accuses the police service of 'crying wolf'.
Then, to reduce the real extent of the national cuts in police resources, the government has instructed Police and Crime Commissioners to mitigate the situation by increasing the local precept. Of course, this is at the very same time as other government ministers are telling councils to increase the council tax to mitigate the big cuts in national resources for adult social care.
So, the government is forcing through inflation-busting increases in council tax throughout the country to pay for its own negligence.
I’m just waiting for next year’s local election campaigns when we will undoubtedly hear Conservative Ministers and MPs attacking big increases in council tax, as though they had nothing at to do with it, and bear no responsibility for rising crime, or the failure to provide old people with the support and care they need.