Policing in Coventry is under threat from the Tory Lib Dem coalition
Bob Ainsworth MP said
“Bobbies on the beat make us all feel safer in our homes and communities. Neighbourhood policing relies on having policing teams on our streets protecting our communities, fighting crime and listening to residents’ concerns
“At the election I stood on a Labour Party Manifesto that committed to halving the deficit by making some tough choices. But we prioritised the police and committed to maintaining police funding.
“The Tories made no such commitment, despite warm words from David Cameron during the campaign. In opposition the Lib Dems called for 3,000 more police officers.
“Both parties have let you down. One of the first acts of the new coalition was to slash the police budget for this year; a reduction of £7m in the West Midlands. The same budget which they supported in the run up to the General Election.
“Now the police are being asked to make additional budget cuts. In the West Midlands this means cuts of over 1,000 civilian staff who support the police and cuts of 1,250 police officers. This means in Coventry there will be no recruitment of police officers whatsoever for at least 4 years, which will result in substantial cuts to patrolling and neighbourhood policing.
“We need to fight these cuts to our police in Coventry. I will make sure that the message is heard loud and clear by the Tory Lib Dem Government.
Shadow Home Secretary Alan Johnson MP said:
“Under Labour there were record numbers of police working in neighbourhood teams and crime fell by 43 per cent. Cutting police officers is not the way to fight crime and anti-social behaviour.
The Coalition Government has its priorities wrong. They advocate putting fewer serious criminals in prison and restricting the ability of the police to use the DNA database and CCTV to catch criminals at the same time as cutting police budgets.
Whilst everyone recognises that the deficit must be reduced, safety has to come first. Frontline policing should be prioritised. Fewer police and PCSOs will mean higher crime rates and more dangerous streets. ”
7 September 2010
Bob Ainsworth has pledged to support a petition that is being raised by local taxi drivers. The petition urges the Coventry Taxi Licensing Office and the Coventry Licensing and Regulatory Committee to offer the option of a 1 or 3 year drivers licence for taxi drivers in the city. The taxi drivers hope the petition will demonstrate the level of support amongst their colleagues for the introduction of a choice on licence durations, which to date has been resisted by the Coventry Licensing Authority.
Currently, the Licensing Authority in Coventry only issues 1 year licences and they have recently confirmed that they have no plans to change their policy in this area. However, the taxi drivers argue that offering a 1 or 3 year driver’s licence gives them more flexibility and alleviates any undue financial or administrative burdens on them and the licensing authority alike. They also argue that such a policy is in line with Department for Transport Best Practise Guidance, which states in paragraphs 55-56 that it is “…. good practise to offer drivers the choice of an annual or a three-year licence”. It goes on to state that “three years is the legal maximum period and is in general the best approach”.
Bob had a meeting on the 23rd August 2010 with Councillor Dave Chater – Acting Chairman of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee – and Frank Barlow – Manager of the Coventry Taxi Licensing Office – to discuss this issue, amongst others. Unfortunately, during the meeting Bob was unable to get them to consider introducing this measure.
“It seems to me that Coventry has decided to second guess the best practise guidance and are thereby causing unnecessary bureaucracy and expense”.
Department for Transport Best Practise Guidance: http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/regional/taxis/bestpractice/pdf/guidance.pdf
Relevant paragraphs 55-56 and 62-65
The Future of the NHS.
Transport House, Main Hall, 23rd September 2010, 7pm
The new Coalition government published a white paper entitled ‘Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS’ which will fundamentally change the NHS as we know it. Bob will be chairing a discussion between Lord Hunt, ex-Minister of State for Health, Alison Gingell, Chair of the Coventry Teaching Primary Chair Trust and Dr Neil Goulbourne, Vice Chair of the Socialist Health Association, who will consider the future of the NHS and how Labour should respond to the proposals in the white paper.
This event is free for everybody to attend.