A few days ago, in the wake of the the Labour party’s announcement of their plan to recruit more policemen, I wrote to the Daily Telegraph to point out the incompetence of Labour’s financial planning. My letter wasn’t chosen for publication, so here it is:
Diane Abbott’s confusion during her LBC radio interview on Labour’s policing proposals is understandable and excusable. We all make mistakes, especially when put on the spot. But both she and Jeremy Corbyn eventually settled on and defended a figure of £300 million as the cost to employ 10,000 police officers. The Labour Party leadership clearly thinks a policeman can be employed for a cost of £30,000 p.a. It appears that the Labour Party’s costings only account for salaries. The Shadow Home Secretary said as much in her interview: “we’re looking at both what average police wages are generally, but also specifically police wages in London.” This is spectacularly inept and is not excusable. It is not misspeaking. It is incompetence.
I don’t have the detailed knowledge accurately to estimate the cost of a policeman, but anyone with any experience in business finance or project management, in whatever field, will recognise that direct wage costs are just part of the costs of a business. Policemen do not come cheap: I think that an additional 10,000 policeman would cost a figure much closer to £1,000 million.
Police numbers have been reduced significantly in recent years; I understand by about 20,000 across the country. Prestonians will recognise this phenomenon; we see few policemen on the streets and police stations are closing all over Lancashire. This has happened under Conservative and Conservative/Liberal Democrat governments. UKIP will reverse this decline; our pledge to increase police numbers by 20,000 across the country will be funded from money currently misspent on misguided foreign aid programmes.