City MP: PM ignoring crime-hit Portsmouth businesses

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan says the Prime Minister has her head in the sand over the devastating impact of police cuts, following his first PMQ today.

Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan used Prime Minister’s Question Time on Wednesday 7 February 2018 to highlight the concerns of local businesses as they continue to be targeted by criminals in the city.

The Labour MP told the Prime Minister she was ‘in denial about the reality of rising crime and falling police numbers’ and that ‘despite her repeated assurances, budgets have not been protected [in Portsmouth]’.

After raising concerns and taking action locally for several months, Mr Morgan asked Theresa May if she would meet with him and a delegation of Portsmouth businesses to discuss tackling the significant rise in crime affecting them in the city.

Hampshire Constabulary have had 1,000 officers and £80 million cut since 2011 and are set to lose a further £10 million this year alone.

Mr Morgan wants to secure fairer funding for local police in the face of massive cuts and has the support of the Hampshire Police Federation. However, he says the response from all levels of Government has been disappointing.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

‘The Prime Minister’s response today shows just how out of touch this Government is.

I’ve repeatedly written to the Home Secretary, Council Leader, and Police and Crime Commissioner, all with the same poor response. The Tories are simply not serious about tackling crime.

It is utterly shameful that the PM today blamed the rise in business crime on the operational decisions of the police when they are struggling with the cuts she is responsible for, first as Home Secretary, and now PM.

Portsmouth’s local businesses are suffering the consequences of unprecedented cuts and getting lip-service in return. I urge Theresa May to accept my request to bring a delegation to meet her so they can properly inform the Government of the reality of the challenges faced by our communities and small businesses.

I promise local businesses, and everyone living in our city, that I’ll continue to fight for our police to get the resources they need to keep us all safe.

The Tories must realise that you can’t protect Portsmouth on the cheap.’

Chair of the Hampshire Police Federation, John Apter, added: 

‘Hampshire Constabulary has suffered because of an unfair funding formula. We are dealing with more demand but with fewer officers, this is unsustainable.

With crime increasing the time has come for the Government to start to invest in policing, they have a responsibility to protect the public and this must start by supporting a police service they claim is the best in the world. Now is the time to show that support with more than just words.’

The latest figures (25th January 2018) reveal the highest rise in police recorded crime since 1992, up by 14%. The crimes which concern the public the most; violent crime, knife crime and robberies are all soaring.

Local Business Owner, Jonny Black, whose own business has been affected by recent break ins, said:

‘I love my city so much and really can’t bear to see so many local businesses be affected by petty crime, we really don’t want shutter streets everywhere.

I therefore welcome this latest intervention to tackle the issues we face in Southsea.’