Policing must be at the heart of the new Government’s agenda and it must now deliver on its pre-General Election promises. That’s the considered view of the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW).
Giving his reaction to the Conservatives’ comprehensive victory in last Thursday’s General Election, PFEW national chair John Apter said: “I have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to congratulate him and his party on their win, but also to remind him of the promises he made about policing before and during the General Election campaign. While I want to continue the positive relationships we have been building with him and his ministers since the departure of Theresa May, I want to stress that we are not here to be their friends.”
Apter continued: “My job is to work to ensure the very best for my members. I want a constructive and productive relationship and for the promises that have been made to us and our members to be more than just warm words. It’s about more than just police numbers. In order to really revive policing the service needs sustained, centrally-funded investment from the Government. It’s also about ensuring my colleagues are supported by Government and are paid fairly. I will do all that I can to ensure that this happens.”
The Conservative Party secured a substantial victory taking a total of 365 out of the 650 seats giving them a majority of 80, with the General Election almost inevitably being dominated by Brexit.
Prior to the vote, the Conservatives had made a series of policy announcements focusing on law and order including promising to recruit 20,000 new police officers, central funding for an increased Taser roll-out, a Police Covenant, the intention to double maximum sentences for those who attack officers (and, indeed, other Emergency Services workers) from 12 months to 24 months, as well as greater protection for police drivers and allowing special constables to be represented by the Federation.
Apter went on to state: “I welcome the pledges that have been made to protect our hard-working and dedicated officers and members of the public. The extra funding for an uplift in Taser which was a significant win for us after months of campaigning is welcome. The recruitment drive is well underway, but I must stress that police officers have been battered and bruised. They cannot tolerate any more broken promises.”
In conclusion, Apter observed: “Policing has been failed so many times in the past. If the safety and security of our public is truly a priority, then this situation simply has to change.”
Thoughts of the business community
Amanda Tickel, global Brexit lead at Deloitte, has also commented on what the General Election result means for Brexit and, in particular, UK business.
“The uncertainty around whether or not Brexit will actually happen now ends, but there’s still big questions as to the form it will take. The General Election result does provide greater clarity on the UK’s political outlook and moves the country into a new phase. Businesses must ready themselves, while wider attention can now turn to the hugely important question of Britain’s future trading relationship with the EU.”
Tickel continued: “Although there’s an understandable feeling of extension exhaustion – with many businesses having already partially implemented restructuring, stockpiling and logistics plans – there’s still thousands who have done virtually nothing. There can be no further delay.”
In addition, Tickel observed: “Some changes are known, such as the freedom of movement ending, but many – including access to services, tariff arrangements and data management – are all still on the table. Time must be spent looking at the content of the withdrawal deal and preparing for the new UK-EU trade arrangements to be ready for this new era of UK business.”
By way of conclusion, Tickel explained: “The return of a majority Government also provides an important opportunity to focus on the post-Brexit challenges the country faces – unlocking business investment, strengthening the building blocks of the economy, improving skills and raising social mobility.”
Commenting on the impact following the General Election outcome, James Stewart (vice-chairman and head of Brexit for KPMG UK) stated: “Business will welcome the clarity of the General Election outcome. However, in terms of the Brexit deal, the attention will be on the final exit deal in 12 months rather than the transition deal at the end of January. The Government’s two priorities for the next 12 months should be securing a good Brexit deal and getting the UK back on the path to growth – for example, investment in infrastructure and upskilling the UK workforce. Businesses and people will also be hoping for an inclusive Government that addresses the divisions in society and achieves a better future across the UK.”
Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG UK, added: “Reigniting investment spending and accelerating growth will be key for the new Government, but as the cloud of uncertainty around an EU deal is likely to remain throughout next year, public spending will need to do the heavy lifting.”
Selfin also said: “The new Government must turn its attention to some of the longer standing challenges facing the UK, such as poor productivity and declining regional opportunities, to help secure a better long-term future, while addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by new technology and climate change.”
Selfin concluded: “Although there’s a broad consensus that a measured increase in public spending is right for the UK, limited capacity, both within Government as it focuses on completing a deal and in the labour market, call into question the extent of a boost it will bring next year. It could now be time to accelerate devolution and reconsider the UK’s future migration policy.”
Response from ADS
Responding to the result of the General Election, ADS CEO Paul Everitt said: “We look forward to working with the new Government to ensure the UK’s aerospace, defence, security and space industries remain global leaders at a time of significant change.”
Everitt continued: “A close partnership between Government and industry is essential to secure sustained long-term growth in our strategic industries.”
In conclusion, Everitt observed: “We must deliver a close future relationship with the European Union, boost investment in innovation and green technologies, develop a defence and security industrial strategy and also bid to forge an ambitious national space programme.”