City MP and local businesses say it’s time to prioritise Portsmouth 

Stephen Morgan MP called for a summit with the Government after upsurge in small business break-ins

Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, today brought six local businesses to Parliament to meet with the Policing and Fire Minister, Rt. Hon. Nick Hurd MP, and discuss the impact rising in crime is having on their livelihoods.

Mr Morgan originally asked the Prime Minister at Question Time in the House of Commons if she would meet with the delegation. Regrettably, both she and the Home Secretary declined.

The group were helpfully joined by Hampshire Constabulary’s Deputy Chief Constable Sara Glen and Chair of the Hampshire Police Federation, John Apter, a serving police officer.

Hampshire Constabulary recently announced that 160 jobs are to be axed as part of the latest round of cuts to the force. In recent years, 1000 police officers have been lost across Hampshire.

Officers will be lost in the dogs, traffic, and intelligence and surveillance units as the police are forced to save £25 million over the next four years. Hampshire has already seen the policing budget fall by £80 million and 1,000 officers lost since 2011.

This comes at a time when local businesses in Portsmouth have seen a troubling spike in break-ins at their properties, putting business confidence and our city’s economy at risk.

Commenting on the meeting, Stephen Morgan MP, said:

It was important for me to bring some of Portsmouth’s brilliant small businesses up to Westminster.

The Prime Minister or her Home Secretary should have met with representatives themselves today. Their failure to do so shows just how far their heads are in the sand over rising crime as well as their inability to prioritise Portsmouth.

Thankfully, the Policing Minister was willing to listen, and heard from Portsmouth’s small businesses, first-hand, the impact police cuts are having on our community.’

During the meeting, representatives also discussed the effects stretched resources and budget cuts are having on frontline policing, with the Police Federation describing the impact on officers and staff.

Stephen added:

‘We have a Tory Police and Crime Commissioner who’s stayed silent on the issue of crime affecting small businesses in Portsmouth.

On his watch, we’ve seen crime increase by 10% locally and police officers working flat-out. That is why I want to see every penny he has, spent on frontline policing.’

The Portsmouth delegation consisted of Simon Docker of Huis Bar representing Elm Grove, Ian Clarke of Southsea Beach Café representing the seafront, Johnny Black of Johnny Black Photography representing Marmion Road, Tara Knight of Southsea Coffee Company representing Osborne Road, and Louise Whitmore of Love Southsea representing local market traders. Albert Road Traders Association provided a written submission as their chair was unable to attend.

Stephen said:

‘I’m very grateful to the small businesses took the time to come to Westminster to meet with the Minister and myself.

I’ll continue to work alongside them, and police, to bring down crime in Portsmouth.’