Three major police forces excluded from government funding protection says Labour
The government has been forced to admit that their flagship pledge to protect police funding in the recent Spending Review does not apply to three major forces at the forefront of fighting domestic terrorism. The three forces excluded from the government's spending promise are the British Transport Police, Defence Police and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.
In a ministerial reply to a Written Parliamentary Question from Labour's shadow treasury minister Rebecca Long-Bailey MP, the government admits that the headline commitment to "protect overall police spending in real terms" applied only to the police forces funded by the Home Office. The British Transport Police, Civil Nuclear Constabulary and Ministry of Defence Police will therefore be open to further cuts.
Commenting, Rebecca Long-Bailey MP said:
"It's fundamentally dishonest for George Osborne to claim he's protecting police spending when his pledge does not include policing our public transport system, guarding our military or protecting nuclear installations and materials. This is deeply alarming given that the last two terrorist attacks in Britain were in a tube station and outside a military base, and nuclear facilities are an obvious target. He said he was protecting the police but he was really just trying to protect himself."
British Transport Police have the responsibility to protect passengers and prevent crime across the UK's train network including the London Underground system. Last week officers from the British Transport Police were among the first on the scene at the Leytonstone tube station following a terrorist incident. The Ministry of Defence Police (different from the Military Police) has a role in guarding military facilities including barracks. The murder of Lee Rigby took place outside one such site. The Civil Nuclear Constabulary guards both nuclear power stations and the convoys transporting nuclear material, both long recognised as a high value target for terrorist attacks.
These forces will now be dependent on their own parent departments for funding in the wake of the Spending Review. The Departments for Transport and Energy & Climate Change were particularly badly hit by the Spending Review, with budget cuts of 37% and 16% respectively. While Defence spending will be maintained, a number of major projects are to be funded through swinging cuts to staff, likely to include the MoD police.
The three forces have over six thousand officers between them.