A News Release issued by the Home Office in London today (Thursday 22nd March 2001), misleadingly entitled "Largest Increase in Police Numbers for more than a Decade", reveals that in the West Midlands region police numbers in rural forces have fallen dramatically since the Government came to power. While Birmingham’s West Midlands Police Force has risen in police numbers, the rural West Mercia Police have lost 141 officers while Staffordshire Police have lost 73 officers overall. But the reality is far worse. A written Parliamentary answer has revealed that there are 245 fewer Staffordshire Police officers available on the beat or on patrol.
"We have long suspected an anti-rural bias in this trendy Islington based Government", says Michael Fabricant. "But this Home Office News Release says it all. Rural counties like Staffordshire have lost out again to this Labour Government. First it was education, then hospital care in South
Staffordshire, and now police numbers.
"Staffordshire Police have lost its rural crime unit and mounted police divisions and we just don’t see so many officers on the beat any more. A Conservative government is pledged to restore police numbers to at least the level they were at before Labour came to power in 1997.
"If a Conservative Government is re-elected, I will meet urgently with Chief Constable John Giffard and find out directly from him what extra resources he needs from central Government".