The Government just announced its Police Funding Settlement for 2019-2020. I pressed the Policing Minister on whether funding in this settlement would enable Avon and Somerset Police to hire frontline officers to replace those who had been lost or just plug existing funding gaps. He was unable to give me a clear answer on this, which we can safely take as meaning the latter. He did talk of extra money for the police overall, but I think we will see very little of it in Bristol. He acknowledged the rising costs pressures and demand pressures on the police, but the main thrust of the statement seems to be that the police precept – which you pay as part of your council tax bills – will be going up, to make up for the shortfall in Government spending.
The Conservatives have completely failed to give police forces the funding they need; the Government may claim that the era of austerity is over, but until this is backed up with proper funding for public services like the police, it will be little more than empty words.