We’ve all been distressed by the tragic recent terrorist attacks in Manchester and London. Put bluntly, many people went out for the night and never came home.
Without doubt, the response of the police and others has been magnificent.
These incidents have prompted a debate about the purpose and funding of the police and other emergency services.
For the first time during a recent election campaign, policing, security and the criminal justice system has been a key theme.
During the last five years police numbers have fallen nationally by 20,000. This is the lowest level for 30 years. In Nottinghamshire, over the same period, we had to make budget savings of 25 per cent or £54m.
It’s important to recognise that the Independent Crime Survey suggests that crime continues to fall, both nationally and here in Nottinghamshire.
However, the nature of crime has changed dramatically.
As well as a real focus on terrorism, we know that fraud and cyber-crime are increasing significantly. What’s more, here in Nottinghamshire, like other parts of the country, the reporting of historic and contemporary child and sexual abuse is increasing.
We’re determined to keep people in Nottinghamshire safe.
That means extra resources are being put into these new crime areas. However, our budget will fall in the future, which implies that tough decisions have got to be made regarding priorities.
There is a debate, in which I’m one of the leading voices nationally, about whether policing is getting sufficient resources.
I know only too well that local people in Mansfield and Ashfield want to see a continued policing presence on their streets which is why I’ve been arguing that the budget cuts that are presently planned should be removed.
I think we need to invest in keeping local people safe.
That’s why the Chief Constable Craig Guildford and I will be meeting all the Nottinghamshire MPs, new and returning, at the House of Commons very soon.
We need to work together to make sure that people in Mansfield, Ashfield and across the whole of Nottinghamshire, are safe and secure in their homes and streets.
As a consequence we will be arguing for more, not less, finance for the police.