Birmingham faces “an explosion in crime” thanks to the Government’s decision to cut police funding by a fifth, Ministers have been warned.
City MP Steve McCabe made the dramatic prediction in a Commons debate as West Midlands MPs queued up to attack cuts in police budgets.
The 90-minute discussion, which focused specifically on the region’s force, followed the announcement by George Osborne, the Chancellor, that Government funding for police would be cut by 20 per cent.
It means West Midlands Police stands to lose a fifth of its £579 million government grant and Chris Sims, the chief constable, has warned that 2,000 jobs could go.
But Labour MPs said they feared West Midlands Police would be hit even harder than other forces. This is because it depends on Government funding more than others, while police in wealthier parts of the country receive more of their budgets from council tax precepts.
Speaking in the debate, Jack Dromey (Lab, Erdington) said: “The impact on the West Midlands will be disproportionately high.”
He added: “I know the police will do their best but they have said to me in no uncertain terms that simple realities will flow from these cuts. More crime, communities less safe and criminals more likely to get away with it.”
Steve McCabe (Lab, Selly Oak): “We may witness a law and order disaster and an explosion in crime.”
Richard Burden (Lab, Northfield): “The way police funding is structured means that West Midlands Police relies on government grant much more than other parts of the country to make ends meet.”
David Winnick (Lab, Walsall North) claimed: “The only people who will gain any satisfaction from what is happening to West Midlands Police are the criminals.”
But Conservative James Morris, MP for Halesowen and Rowley Regis, said Labour MPs should admit that there would have been cuts in police budgets even if their party was still in power.
Home Office Minister Nick Herbert, responding for the Government, said forces would save money on administration and other “back office” functions, rather than front-line policing. He said Ministers had been forced to make savings because Labour had left the country with massive debts and a budget deficit.
Mr Herbert said: “We believe it will be possible to protect that front line despite the cuts we have announced to the police budget.”