» Monday, March 14, 2005

Nottinghamshire Police

Asked what the Prime Minister’s view was about the Chief Constable of the Nottinghamshire police saying they couldn’t police properly because of Government policy, the PMOS replied that everyone recognised that there were problems in Nottinghamshire, and there were different views about the causes of those problems. The facts were: that the Police Standards Unit had been working with the police force there because of concerns about performance; and overall, crime was turning round in the area. The other facts were that Nottinghamshire had seen an increase of 4.08% in its grant, which was well above the minimum increase granted to all police authorities; that there were particular problems such as drugs or gun crime to be dealt with, extra resources from the Street Crime Initiative and the Gun Crime Initiative had been directed to the police service there; and on police numbers, the total numbers were 200 more police than in 1997, and 267 more support staff than in 1997. In terms of resources, therefore, Nottinghamshire had received significant support.

Put to the PMOS that since the statistics given, the Chief Constable was not performing his job properly, the PMOS said everyone accepted that there were problems there, and that was why the Police Standards Unit needed to work with the force.

Put to him again that although there was extra support given, there were still problems, and whose fault was it therefore, the PMOS replied that what was important was that although some people might want to get into a "blame game", we wanted to resolve the problems that were there. The way to resolve those problems was by not only providing extra resources, but also to work together with the Police Authority and with the Chief Constable to resolve those matters. That was why Hazel Blears would be meeting local MPs this afternoon.

Asked if the Prime Minister thought it was wrong for the Chief Constable to go to the press, the PMOS said it was a matter for the Chief Constable and the Police Authority. The Police Authority had said they would be having discussions about the matter soon.

Asked if the Prime Minister had a view on the matter, the PMOS said it was a matter for those who were the Chief Constable’s employers, the Police Authority.

Put to him that Nottinghamshire was being funded as a rural constabulary, when in fact, it should be considered a metropolitan one, and did the Government disagree with that view, the PMOS said that the existing police formula was carefully designed to reflect the services that were in demand for the areas. It was constantly being looked at and reviewed, but Nottinghamshire was not unique in the demands that it faced.

Gerry Adams’ fish and chips

Asked if the Prime Minister was informed in advance of the White House’s decision to make Gerry Adams pay for his own fish and chips during the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, the PMOS said we did discuss these matters with the administration. However, the administration reached its own decision, and therefore we had been aware of the decision they had taken, but it was one taken by them.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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