Who You Gonna Call? Ghostbusters?

Sorry, my take on a serious question. Just who are you going to call when you need the Police? Even if you get through, your friendly Despatcher will assign a Priority to your call and somebody should turn up within the allotted time.

But that’s just the beginning of a bigger problem.

Who are the Police going to call when they need backup? With the single-crewing madness still in place despite the obvious risks, backup could be 15 minutes, or more, away. My good friend Dai ( you remember, Bronwyn’s boyfriend) can be the only warranted officer on duty in HUNDREDS of square miles at night time. Over 17,000 Police Officers have now GONE across England and Wales. Whoever wins the next election it seems inevitable that more will follow, perhaps even more than we’ve already lost.

You’d have to hope that the Police Officer who attended your call didn’t need help from a Dog Handler. Almost all of the 43 Forces in England and Wales have reduced the size of their Dog Sections, and you might even have to wait for one to arrive from a neighbouring Force, particularly at night when they become really useful. It might not sound like many but over 200 Police Dogs have already gone. Next time you spot a passing Constable just stop him/her (because he/she will be patrolling singly) how valuable they think a Police Dog is to day to day Policing. I bet I can predict their answer.

If the lone PC and his/her Dog Handler mate haven’t been able to solve your problem, you’d better hope that they don’t need to call for a helicopter. Following on from the 23% budgetary cuts which gave birth to the current ‘system’, they are now facing a further 14% cut which is likely to lead to the closure of a quarter of the existing Air Support bases. Having already been reduced from 30 to 20’bases, budgetary restraints are likely to reduce that number to 15, to cover the whole of England and Wales.

It wasn’t that long ago that calling up a dog unit and/or a helicopter in the middle of the night was a perfectly viable option, but now you’ll be lucky to get either, never mind both.

5 Forces have completely disbanded their Mounted Sections and some have now resorted to recruiting unpaid volunteers to don a Hi Viz jacket and ride their own horses like a mounted Neighbourhood Watch. I’m all in favour of Neighbourhood Watch, but personally this is not a scheme for me, not least because I would require a Clydesdale or Suffolk Punch before I could ride it.

Finally, should you need an Ambulance, put the kettle on and make the officers a cup of tea as Ambulances are stacked up outside A&E waiting for the Bed Blocking, which this government has created, to clear. By cutting Social Care budgets at the far end of the chain beds become blocked because patients can’t be discharged as Local Authorities can’t provide sufficient support for their role. Again, all caused by ConDem coalition cutting local Authority budgets without regard for the consequences.

I fully accept that you are highly unlikely to encounter the full scenario I have described above, but it is not impossible to encounter any combination of those factors, and if you are that unfortunate you’d be as well to call Ghostbusters as the Emergency Services, as cuts are here, they have started, they are already having an effect on everyday life. It isn’t that your local Police Station (if you’re lucky enough to still have one) can’t be arsed to send someone, it’s far more likely that they have absolutely nobody they can send. An extreme example maybe, but an example nevertheless of how the cuts of Camoron/May/Winsor and all can affect the lives of ordinary folk. Every one of your Emergency Service personnel do the job they do because they care.

Let us not forget that Fire Stations have been closed across the country, Fire Engines sold off or taken out of service and Fire Fighters are also losing their jobs. I have mentioned previously the plight of the Coastguard service also. All of the Emergency Services are suffering at the hands of this unelected coalition, and destined to get worse.

I’m not going to presume to tell you who to vote for in May, but I am going to emplore you to think very carefully before you do vote, and to remember that #CutsHaveConsequences, and those consequences are only going to get worse before they get better.