Saturday, April 17, 2010

Camewrong... again

A feature of Dave's performance last night was a stream of references to people he has met.

Some claims can be put down to a simple slip of the tongue

"I was in Plymouth recently and, er, a 40-year-old black man actually made the point to me. He said: 'I came here when I was six, I've served in the Navy for 30 years, I'm incredibly proud of my country, but I'm so ashamed that we've had this out-of-control system with people abusing it so badly."

A 40 year old bloke who has served 30 years in the Navy? Probably not.

But then we come to Dave's ongoing campaign to alienate the police service. Not content with a policy for elected sheriffs that has Chief Constables threatening resignation over plans to bring their operational activities under political control, he's now laying into front line policing and training.

I went to a Hull police station the other day. They had five different police cars and they were just about to buy a £73,000 Lexus. There is money that could be saved to get the police on the frontline.

Except he didn't visit the other day, it was eight months ago. And Humberside police bought the Lexus back in July after twelve months of testing of a range of suitable vehicles. The estimates suggest that they bought the car for around £40k and then spent £30k kitting it out with communications and computer equipment. The price tag that Cameron quotes is for a specialist vehicle 'on the road' and fighting crime across the region on the frontline, not just a panda car tootling around Hull. Humberside Police even use ultra-cheap Protons as general patrol vehicles, but it is accepted that particular units will have a need for specialist vehicles that will cost significantly more. The police up there aren't happy.

Then Dave turned his attention to the Met, one of the largest police services in the world. He revealed that there are 400 uniformed officers who are driving desks in Human Resources rather than fighting crime on the streets. Over 300 of those officers occupy training roles, with 208 of them busy training new recruits, PCSOs and special constables. This last group are a subset that you would have thought Dave would have been only too happy to encourage for their sterling voluntary service to the community, but no, he feels that they don't deserve training.

There are more than 30,000 police officers in the Metropolitan Police and it has a total establishment of around 50,000 men and women. Not only has Dave now decided that they should scrap training and perhaps restrict their pursuits to public transport, but he won't commit to maintaining their numbers (numbers that have been increased by this Labour government).

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