There have been 14 exchanges between Sir Edward Davey and Mr Nick Hurd
|1||Mon 29th April 2019||Rape Victims: Disclosure of Evidence||3 interactions (397 words)|
|2||Thu 13th December 2018||Police Funding Settlement||3 interactions (403 words)|
|3||Mon 12th November 2018||Stop and Search||3 interactions (197 words)|
|4||Tue 6th November 2018||Police Pension Liabilities||3 interactions (178 words)|
|5||Wed 12th September 2018||Police: Financial Sustainability||3 interactions (286 words)|
|6||Wed 28th March 2018||
|13 interactions (849 words)|
|7||Tue 20th February 2018||Medical Cannabis||3 interactions (150 words)|
|8||Wed 7th February 2018||
Police Grant Report
Department for Work and Pensions
|9 interactions (863 words)|
|9||Mon 20th November 2017||
Oral Answers to Questions
|2 interactions (98 words)|
|10||Tue 7th November 2017||Community Policing||6 interactions (923 words)|
|11||Mon 30th October 2017||Independent Review: Deaths in Police Custody||3 interactions (387 words)|
|12||Wed 25th October 2017||Police Funding: London||2 interactions (756 words)|
|13||Mon 16th October 2017||
Oral Answers to Questions
|2 interactions (138 words)|
|14||Mon 3rd July 2017||
Oral Answers to Questions
|3 interactions (183 words)|
(1 year, 3 months ago)Commons Chamber
The right hon. Gentleman, with his experience as a Minister, knows that what represents a reasonable line of inquiry is an investigative matter for the police, and that although the prosecution will do what they can to assist in identifying potential further inquiries, those suggestions will not be taken by the police as definitive or exhaustive. The right hon. Gentleman talks about compulsion; he will know that we are talking about a form that asks for consent. Consent is not, by definition, compulsory.
The right hon. Gentleman has served in the Government, so he knows that we sometimes have to wrestle with difficult balances. There is an extremely difficult balance to be struck between supporting the police in fulfilling their duty to follow all reasonable lines of inquiry, and our common desire to do everything we can to respect individuals’ privacy.
I come back to the heart of what the police are trying to do. This is not a new process. They are now in the business of gathering evidence from mobile phones. People are handing over phones, however difficult that is. This is an honest attempt to try to bring better consistency and better information into the system, to try to help potential victims of rape understand the process better. I am absolutely sure that that is the intention. Whether it is being executed in the best way is clearly something on which this House has different views. Having spoken to the police, I am absolutely sure that they will be listening to this carefully. They are genuinely open to discussing with all interested parties how this can be improved. We have to get this difficult balance right.
(1 year, 8 months ago)Commons Chamber
I place on record my admiration for the work of Northamptonshire police and the police and crime commissioner. They are a good force in relation to efficiency, and benefited from increased funding of £4 million this year, which my hon. Friend voted for. I hope he will support this settlement, which I can confirm has the capacity to increase funding by a further £9 million this year. Of course, it is up to Stephen and the local chief to decide how those resources are best allocated. I am sure my hon. Friend will express a strong view on behalf of the good people of Kettering.
The right hon. Gentleman raises two extremely important points. Our whole approach to bearing down on the worst spike in serious violence and knife crime in a decade is entirely based on a public health model, as the Home Secretary has made extremely clear. That is the basis of the serious violence taskforce, which brings together all the agencies, including health and education, to discuss what needs to be done to combine robust policing with effective prevention and intervention work, and support for young people. That strategy is properly funded, not least through the £200 million youth endowment fund. That is long-term money to support that work and to support young people up and down the country.
The right hon. Gentleman’s second point on the demands placed on the police system by the need to support people in crisis or who are suffering from mental health issues is an extremely important one. The recommendations of the review of the Mental Health Act 1983 were extremely valuable not only on what needs to change to reduce the demand on the police system, but on ensuring that people in crisis who are suffering from mental health issues are supported by the right people—the people qualified to help them, which in many cases is not the police. One dividend I want from the additional investment in local mental health services announced in the Budget is a reduction in the demand on policing. I hope he will support me in that.
(1 year, 9 months ago)Commons Chamber
I fully understand the point that my hon. Friend makes and he knows from our conversations that I have a lot of sympathy with it. The steps I took last year with the funding settlement have resulted in almost every single police force in England and Wales beginning to recruit again. I also welcome the steps taken by the police leadership to create a more consistent model of neighbourhood policing across the country. That is what the public we serve want to see, and—as I have said—I hope to take further steps in the 2019-20 funding settlement in early December.
I can certainly assure the right hon. Gentleman—and former colleague—that policy making in Government will, as ever, be evidence led. As and when we have taken decisions on what we would like to do, we will engage fully on that, including with Parliament.
(1 year, 9 months ago)Commons Chamber
My hon. Friend makes a serious point. Across the police system, reserves have grown by hundreds of millions of pounds since 2011, at a time when all the public were hearing from the police system was, “We need more money.” One of the things we have done is to say, “Yes, you need reserves, but you need to account for how big those reserves are and what you intend to do with them.” That goes for the West Midlands police and crime commissioner, who has, I think, increased reserves by £20 million.
No, I do not. I think the number is exaggerated, which is not unusual for the police. I recognise that there is an unbudgeted cost, and I have given an undertaking to work very closely with the Treasury and with the Home Secretary to find a solution to both this and the additional resources and capacity needed to meet the very real demand pressures on the police.
(1 year, 11 months ago)Commons Chamber
My right hon. Friend has made an important point. We introduced police and crime commissioners, and Matthew Scott is an outstanding example of the difference that they make, both through local accountability and through stewardship of police budgets. I am delighted, not least for the people of Kent, that as a result of the measures that we have taken—and we could only do so because of the improvements in the economy—more money is going into Kent policing, which Matthew is using to recruit more officers. I am sure that that is very welcome throughout Kent.
The right hon. Gentleman has raised an extremely important point. One of the clear messages that I received during my tour of the police system was about the frustration caused by the amount of time that officers spend—in their words—doing other people’s jobs, away from core policing work, and a large part of that frustration relates to the amount of time spent supporting people with mental health issues. We are doing a piece of work on this, because evidence must support the initiatives that we take. We need to understand the problem, and think about how we can make local collaboration work more effectively so that time can be freed up to allow police officers to do what the public expect, and focus on core policing.
The thin blue line is stretched, and the Government recognise that. That is why we have brought forward a funding settlement that will see at least £450 million of new investment in our police system next year, and that will see this country investing over £1 billion more in our police system than we did in 2015-16. That is a funding settlement that the hon. Lady voted against.
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I will come on to clarify the numbers in a way that I hope the right hon. Gentleman will welcome. As he knows from our debates on this subject, I have always made it clear that the police funding settlement is a combination of contributions from the central taxpayer and the local tax payer, and if we want more investment in policing, it is the taxpayer that pays. Also, the statisticians were quite clear in recognising that the complexities were getting over-complex in such things as tweets and PMQs.
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I thank my hon. Friend, not least for his persistence in making that point. He points to Northamptonshire as a beacon of what efficient smart working and collaboration can deliver. I expect to have news on the fire governance issue shortly.
I have given way at least once to the right hon. Gentleman and I need to make some progress so that Back Benchers can participate in this debate.
So much for the past—we are not in 2010 now. Things have changed, not least the pattern of demand on the police, and when demand changes, so must we. Of course, as the Office for National Statistics—our independent national statisticians—makes clear, the most reliable indicator of crime trends in the UK is the national crime survey, and it shows very clearly, although Labour never mentions this, that the long-term trend of our constituents’ experience of traditional crime is down; it is down by almost 40% since 2010. That is the most reliable indicator of crime, according to our independent statisticians, and it shows a long-term of trend of our constituents’ experience of crime continuing to go down. We are talking about 10% year on year, and 40% since 2010. That is to be welcomed, because what is happening in crime needs to be understood. It is complicated, but this is where I take umbrage, because the Labour party is deliberately misrepresenting the situation as far as I can see. We should welcome the trend that the official ONS statistics show, which is that people’s experience of crime continues to fall—
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The independent statisticians at the ONS say that the survey, which has run for many years across many thousands of households and been used by successive Labour and Conservative Governments as the most reliable indicator of crime trends, is just that: our most reliable indicator. It is not perfect, but it is our most reliable indicator. It would be quite wrong of me and Conservative Members not to point out, against all shroud waving and talk about soaring crime, that the clear data from the most reliable indicator of crime trends shows that crime is going down. Except—it is very important to say this—we are seeing a genuine increase in low-volume, very high-impact serious violent crime. We are determined to get on top of that.
I have confirmed that. I acknowledged explicitly, on the record, that that is the one area in which there is clearly a genuine increase. Because the consequences are devastating and it is massively unsettling for people, it is absolutely a top priority for the Home Office and the Government to get on top of it. The action we are taking is in the serious violence strategy which, as I have said, is imminent.
The point I am trying to make is that the Government recognise that there has been a shift in the pattern of demand on the police. We have listened to concerns and responded accordingly, because this is not new. The Prime Minister, who was the previous Home Secretary, recognised that when from 2015, despite the public finances still being in a difficult situation, she led the decision to protect overall police budgets in real terms.
(2 years, 5 months ago)Commons Chamber
I think that question is best answered by the Department of Health. What I am keen to register with the House is our determination to try to explore every option within the boundaries of the existing regulations to see whether we can support this case.
I beg to move,
That the Police Grant Report (England and Wales) for 2018-19 (HC 745), which was laid before this House on 31 January, be approved.
I would like to start by taking a moment to pay tribute to the hard work and dedication of our police officers. Of course, those who work in Parliament must never forget the ultimate sacrifice paid by PC Keith Palmer as he stepped forward to protect us in the line of duty. We also know from our constituencies that on every day and in every force, police officers take risks—sometimes extraordinary ones—to protect the public. They deserve our gratitude and, more importantly, our support.
The background to this debate is one of increased investment in policing since 2015. This year in England and Wales, we will invest £12.6 billion in our police system, compared with £11.9 billion in 2015-16, which represents an increase of around £700 million. Having seen evidence of changed demands on the police, we propose a settlement that increases total funding across the police system by up to £450 million in 2018-19. This will mean that, in 2018-19, we will be investing over £1 billion more in policing than we did in 2015-16, and that is at a time when public spending continues to be constrained due to the high borrowing that we inherited from the Labour party. I think that that is a significant statement of the priority that this Government attach to public safety.
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The numbers cannot lie. As a result of the settlement, if PCCs do everything that we are empowering them to do, we, as a society, will be investing over £1 billion a year more in our police system than was the case in 2015-16. The Labour party can continue to talk the language of cuts, but the numbers tell a different story. There will be £1 billion a year of additional public money in our policing system next year compared with the position in 2015-16.
I will give the right hon. Gentleman a bit more time to recover from presenting his excellent ten-minute rule Bill, so I will proceed with my argument.
When shaping the settlement, I spoke personally to every PCC and chief constable in England and Wales. The Home Office collaborated closely with the police’s own demand and resilience review. I am incredibly grateful to frontline officers across the country who gave me their time and very candid opinions during my visits. I also thank Members from all parties who engaged with me on behalf of their local forces.
We heard three messages from that engagement. First, it is very clear that demand on the police has risen, and it has done so in areas of greater complexity and resource intensity. That does not mean that the British public are experiencing more crime. Indeed, the independent crime survey for England and Wales, which our independent statisticians confirm as being the most authoritative data on long-term crime trends, shows that the public’s experience of crime has continued to fall. It is down by almost 40% since 2010. However, police-recorded crime, which is a different thing, has risen significantly since 2015. Again, the independent statisticians are clear that the drivers of that growth include improved police recording of crime, and the fact that more victims of high-harm hidden crimes, such as domestic abuse, modern slavery and child sexual exploitation, are coming forward—
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I beg the hon. Lady’s pardon, but even if I have to shift my geography, I do not think that my argument will change. I hope that she welcomes the fact that Nottinghamshire police will receive £4.5 million more cash in 2017-18 and the statement from her PCC, Paddy Tipping, that he will use that money to recruit more police officers.
As a Liberal Democrat who worked tirelessly in government to promote more open and transparent government, I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will have no problem with the principle of greater accountability and transparency around the use of public money, which is the kernel of the debate. The guidelines are not mandated. The advice that police treasurers get from the body he mentioned indicates that they should be thinking of about 3% to 5% of revenue as basic contingency reserves. The £1.6 billion that I cited in response to my hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Charlie Elphicke) represents around 15% of annual revenue, so the reserves that the police hold clearly go above what might be reasonably expected for pure contingency funding. That is absolutely fine, as long as the people whose money that is get a good explanation of what the money will be used for.
In response to that artificial rant, let me state the facts again: over the past 10 years, the total number of fires attended by fire and rescue services has more than halved. I am not offering warm words: the taxpayer is investing £2.3 billion of public money in the fire service. If there is evidence that that is not enough, we will always listen to it, but the first question we will ask is, “What are you doing with your reserves?”
(2 years, 9 months ago)Westminster Hall
Flat cash is flat cash, which means there are cost pressures that police forces have to absorb, and I will come back to that. However, there is no getting away from the fact that the overall amount of money that taxpayers are investing in the police system has grown, not shrunk.
I could not have been clearer in my remarks; demand on the police has grown. We have two sets of data, which is sometimes confusing. We track people’s experience of crime through the crime survey. That shows a long-term decline in people’s experience of crime, which I hope every Member will welcome. In terms of police recorded crime, which is trying to capture something different, we are seeing an increase. Part of that is a genuine increase in crime, which I totally accept, as the Office for National Statistics does. Part of it—I know the right hon. Gentleman will welcome this—is people feeling more comfortable to come forward about crime, particularly in some of the murky, difficult, complex and often tragic areas, and police getting more effective at recording crime. It is confusing. People’s experience of crime is down, according to the official survey that has run for many years, but recorded crime is up. There are two sets of data trying to do different things.
I want to address the point about stretch. Whenever I visit a police force, I have a meeting with frontline officers, and the message from those officers could not be clearer: they feel extremely stretched. They are working very hard under very difficult circumstances indeed. As I say, the fact that that message is coming out of a can-do organisation means we have to listen to it.
That is why we are conducting a demand and resilience review, led by myself. I will be visiting or speaking to every single force in England and Wales. The review will update our understanding of demand and how it is being managed, the implications of flat cash force by force and the strategy for reserves, which are public money. The last audited numbers in 2016 showed reserves of £1.8 billion. That figure is now down a bit, to perhaps around £1.6 billion, but it is still public money, and we need to know the plans for it.
Break in Debate
If the hon. Lady will forgive me, I will not, because I want to finish my remarks.
That review will be assessed in parallel with the fair funding review that colleagues will have tracked and that is of particular interest to Suffolk, Bedfordshire and other counties that feel they have been on the wrong end of the allocation in recent years. It will come together as a piece of analysis and work with the provisional grant report and provisional settlement for 2018-19, which I expect to come to the House before the year end.
I would like to assure colleagues who are concerned about whether the Government are listening to the messages from their local police chiefs and police and crime commissioners that we feel strongly that we have to take decisions based on evidence, not assertion, and that is feeding into the review. We owe that to the taxpayer. We are determined to ensure that the police have the resources and the support they need, without giving up on the challenge we have to give them to ensure they are using that money in the most effective way.
For this Government, as for any Government, public safety is the No. 1 priority. I assure the House that in the work we are doing, we are determined to ensure that hard-working police forces up and down the country doing incredibly difficult work under very difficult and often dangerous circumstances have the support they need. With that, I close, in order that the right hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton can conclude.
(2 years, 9 months ago)Commons Chamber
The hon. Gentleman uses his experience to make a very important point. I am sure that he is aware that additional funding worth some £30 million has been made available to secure alternative places of safety and I welcome that. On his broader point about mental health, he knows that, at long last and as a result of campaigning across the House, more investment is going into mental health. He will also know from talking to his local police force that more and more police time is being spent safeguarding and looking after people with various mental health conditions and that should not be their job. The discussion for us, both at a local and national level, is about responsibility, investment and resources to make sure that those who are suffering on the spectrum of mental health, anxieties and disorders are being treated in the right way and in the right place.
I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his point. I am very committed to this matter. Having sat and listened to families talking about their ordeal, it is impossible to leave the room with any sense of neutrality or indifference. This is the moment when we must drive change. On his point about drying-out centres and alternative places of safety and support, the Government must be open minded. If there are good examples of places where that works, and the evidence supports it, we must consider it. That will be something that we take to the ministerial council, which has been charged with the follow-up to this review.
(2 years, 9 months ago)Westminster Hall
I will not give way, because the hon. Lady did not have the courtesy to turn up for the beginning of the debate.
The increase in recorded crime is not all bad news, in the sense that, as the Office for National Statistics makes quite clear, it reflects that the police are better at recording crime and people are feeling more confident to come forward in areas that had been murky and complex before. However, undeniably, there is an increase in demand in some worrying areas, which are increasingly complex for the police to police. The right hon. Member for Hackney North and Stoke Newington (Ms Abbott) was eloquent, as I would expect, about the culture: the worrying, shocking, callous attitude to violence that underpins some of the violent crime that shocks us across the city, and not just in inner London but in outer boroughs, as my hon. Friend the Member for Romford was eloquent in pointing out.
When the threat changes we have to adapt, and when I say “we”, I mean we: not just parties, central Government, local government and all the statutory agencies, but also the private sector and civil society. This is a shared challenge that we have to meet together to understand what is going on—to be frank, in some areas we do not have a good enough understanding—and to ensure we have the right strategy, the right level of resilience and the right resources in the right areas.
In terms of resources to the police, let us state an old, stubborn truth: we live in very constrained times. That is the political reality of the situation. Within that, the Home Secretary and I will have made it clear that we will continue to ensure that the police have the resources they need to do the job, but we will continue to challenge them to modernise and be more efficient and effective, not least in embracing the power of technology to improve the interface that our constituents have with them, but also to help them be more effective in their work. We do that not just because we have responsibilities to the taxpayer, but because we want the Met to be the best police force in the world. That requires a culture of continuous improvement, which is the hallmark of every successful organisation I have observed.
When we look at the Met’s performance—we would not want to let evidence get in the way of a good bit of shroud-waving from the Opposition—the evidence is this. If we compare its performance in 2008 to 2017, we see that in 2017 there were 100,000 fewer recorded crimes and the same number of police officers. The number of police officers in London is by far and away the highest per head of population in the country, at 359 per 100,000, compared with 252 in Merseyside and an average across the country of 200. There are fewer crimes and the same number of police officers, in a police system that costs the taxpayer almost £700 million less than it did in 2008.
The right hon. Member for Hackney North and Stoke Newington said it was a vapid idea that the police could do more with less; the Metropolitan police has proved otherwise. In that respect, I pay tribute to Commissioner Dick. As she has said:
“I won’t be waving a shroud, I will be just be giving my professional advice. I think we can make some further savings. I am confident that the Met at the end of my commissionership might be smaller but could be as effective, if not more effective, through amongst other things the use of technology and different ways of working.”
That is the leadership we need to see, not least from the largest force in England and Wales.
I do not want to misrepresent Commissioner Dick, who is clear that she wants more resource, as does every police force in the country, but when it comes to funding, let us be clear and present the facts. The Metropolitan police’s budget for 2017-18 is £2.8 billion, up from £2.7 billion in 2015-16. According to the last figures I have, the Met sits on reserves of £240 million, which is 10% of cash funding. The Mayor, who has been the subject of a healthy ding-dong here, was sitting on total un-ring-fenced reserves of £2.3 billion in 2016. To be fair to the Mayor, by stripping out what he has borrowed, he is still sitting on unrestricted resource reserves of about £300 million. There are choices in this process.
I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Vicky Ford). I will be delighted to sit down with Essex MPs to discuss this. As I said, a number of commissioners have approached us in similar vein, and it is part of our thinking as we look ahead towards the 2018-19 settlement.
I thank my hon. Friend for his comment. I hope I can reassure him that a lot of work is being done to ensure not only that the police have the resources they need, but that they are allocated fairly across all forces. No final decision has been taken on the fair funding formula, but I am happy to sit down with my hon. Friend and colleagues from all parts of the House who have concerns about the resource allocation for their forces.
Ultimately, what matters most is the trend in crime, which the right hon. Gentleman knows from experience is what unsettles our constituents most. Public safety is the No. 1 priority, so the ultimate outcome is the crime statistics, and I am sure that he will join me in welcoming the long-term decline that we have seen since 2010.