18/09/2011 The Politics Show South


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In the South: The costs of policing after the


riots - should we rethink police budgets cut?


And from mice to miner birds - if you had to describe the Liberal


Democrats as an animal, what we did be and why? Find out in half-an-


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2132 seconds


Hello and welcome to the part of the show especially for us here in


the south. On today's show, what price the police service in the


wake of this summer's riots. One Conservative MP tells us the cuts


of wrong and what has happened to the strike over the city council's


cuts to staff pay? I will be talking to management and union to


find out if they have made any headway. But first, the Lib Dems


are gathering in Birmingham. It is safe to say they have taken a


nosedive in public opinion but we thought we would test that by


asking people if the lead Dems were A mouse. Because they are quiet.


Behind the scenes. A pig. They all are. A teddy bear. They are yellow.


A badger. Because you do not see a lot of them. Possibly an otter.


Slyly endangered but making strong return. Eight chihuahua. They are


green and save the world, save the planet but sometimes they lose


track of the real world. A mynah bird. Mimicking exactly what the


Tories do. It was just a bit of fun and we will be trying it out on


Labour and the Conservatives in future weeks. But now Peter is up


in Birmingham in the thick of the Lib Dem Conference. Do they seem


like otters or teddy bears to you? Not teddy bears! There is a touch


of stardust he had the Lib Dem Conference. Hugh Grant, the actor,


has had a meeting with the Nick Clegg, talking about phone hacking.


That was a meeting organised by Evan Harris, former boxer Jack MP


but now he is a thorn in the side of the coalition. Then there are


all the councillors who lost their seats in the May election having


lost the referendum on alternative vote. You would think the Lib Dems


are down in the mouth. They are not. That stardust is helping a bit but


there are a lot of them complaining at the grass roots. That is what


they do at every conference. With me is the leader of Eastleigh


Borough Council. Hugh Grant did have some great one-liners! We


cannot repeat them! Some of the ministers as well. The conference


slogan about being in government but does that make up for the sense


of loss? There is something which is very unusual for Lib Dems. The


first year was difficult for them. This time last year there were a


lot of people saying, did we do the right thing? Some people laughing


Nick Clegg, others live in him. The May elections were cathartic. It


was said clearly, we are not in bed with the Tories. That is not what


the public think. They say you are parroting the lines of the Tories.


A I have been really pleased that the mood here is so positive,


because we are getting things done in government. We have announced


more money for pupils in deprived wards. Things that would never have


been done by a Tory government. More money for infrastructure as


well but it is about balancing the economy. Who would ever thought


that Danny Alexander would be a start announcing more tax


inspectors. Wonder.! But not for us. It is for us. We have to make sure


we get spending in the South East as well. The south-east is the main


engine in the economy. But if that stalls, there will be a massive


loss of money for the Treasury. One of the messages we have to give is


to make sure we have that investment in the south-east.


Things like the new homes bonus people worry about because they


think it is just councils trying to make money. There is not an open


book for developers. We have slashed the building programme that


was put forward by the last government which will save hundreds


of acres of green field sites. Councils are not approaching it in


that way but we have a real housing need and we do have to find places


for homes to be built. suggestion is this is an open


cheque, that councils will want to make money. Peanuts will be made.


No council anywhere in the country will be influenced by the new homes


bonus to say we will be allowing more building. Infrastructure costs


are enormous. We need tens of millions of pounds to go along with


new homes and we have to extract that from the developers. It is


hard work. Thank you. This is not the first conference of the


conference season. The smaller parties have been very busy and


politicians from the south have been making waves at those


gatherings across the country. Conference time is crunch time for


party leaders. Some expected Britain's Caroline Lucas to be


distracted by Westminster work but she was setting the tone at the


Green Party's gathering in Sheffield. Nationally there are


challenges because we have an electoral system stacked against us,


but we are showing that despite that we can win our first seeds and


so I would hope at the next election we might win. As well as


David Cameron, the South is home to one other party leader -- Nigel


Farage of the UKIP party. He had been knocked down for a while but


for us back for his party conference in Eastbourne rebuffing


criticism of his leadership been rung by star star. Thank you very


much indeed. This is my first conference back as leader of UKIP


at a time when absolutely everything we have stood for and


fought for is now at the centre of the national debate. Nobody can say


it other than a new kit man -- UKIP is a mainstream British party.


year, are calls from delegates will have. Rollins roads and public


demonstrations were proving effective in disputes over city


council pay cuts and could be applied in national protests.


give formal notice to 9,000 employers that we are now balloting


for industrial action. We are proud to support must just this side but


the move to industrial action ballots. We notice our intention to


ballot for industrial action. will be the biggest trade union


mobilisation for a generation. are likely to see the first co-


ordinated union protests in November over changes to public


sector pensions. An important thing for the Coalition for if Lib Dem


ministers involved to see how they will be dealing with industrial


dispute in the future and there will be questions from the


grassroots for those ministers. They do not like ministers being


self-important but they liked the fact that the country is taking


notice of what the Lib Dems think. For the best part of the year


around has been rumbling away at Southampton City Council to save


money and jobs, the council wanted to reduce pay and change terms and


conditions. 99 % of workers have signed new contract in July but


this dispute is far from over. Unison and denied members took part


in strike action this summer and are still working to rule. Joining


me to discuss where we go from here is councillor Jeremy Malton. The


contracts have been signed, do you think you can force a U-turn?


We have been in negotiations now for some town which had led to some


new proposals. That proposal was rejected because it was not good


enough and reopened negotiations. The strikes have proved our members


on not accept a pay cut so we will continue with the strikes or


negotiations depending on which will bring a resolution. You are


also thinking of legal action. One is already in the tribunal for


lack of consultation and we have 500 unfair dismissal claims to


submit and Unite have 300 claims to submit which will happen in the


next few days. This was meant to save you money but hearing about


legal action, you have had to make concessions. It is about saving


money but also about protecting jobs and services. We do think it


is the right thing to do. There is an alternative and the Labour group


have said they would get rid of 1,500 jobs at the council. That is


what we want to avoid but since we were last here, we have made huge


progress and we are much closer together now and that proposal that


Andy talked about, that is something we want to see go to all


the union members. You say you have made progress but there are threats


of further strikes, so it does not sound like it is going well. There


is an understanding now from the union side that there is not the


money that perhaps they thought there was an certainly from the


council's side we have shown we are willing to move opposition. That


proposal is worth a million pounds to council employers. If that is a


good deal. We are working on how we can strengthen that and hopefully


that can go to all council staff and reach an agreement. Are you


making progress because it does not seem to match up that staff are


talking about more strikes and yet we are hearing of progress.


Discussions have improved and we have been continuing with them. The


problem was if you put an extra million pounds into our members'


pockets, the trouble is the council took �6 million out of their wages.


We are a long way off of where our members want to be but we will


continue discussions and we will make a decision on whether the


offer is good enough or not. At the moment it is not. We will not put


the last offer back to it, members. Four asked to have a ballot, the


offer needs to improve. People who are looking outside of their


windows and seeing their bins are not collected, they want to know


when you will resolve this. How long will it take? We are


continuing fierce discussions and we will meet Again with Andy and


other unions to try and get that deal discussed back in August


fleshed out and hopefully something they feel they can take to all


their members. The public are still suffering because there is this


work to Raul and particularly with the bin collections staff, that is


meaning people are not getting their bins collected when it should


be and that is causing a lot of problems. But what are you doing to


try to improve morale? You have a lot of staff who are unhappy at how


you are treating them. We are trying to make it clear to them


that this is about protecting jobs and social workers who have been on


strike, we have said to them all their jobs are safe, we are


recruiting more people. One thing I have done is I have been around the


building they were again that they have complaints about and we have


drawn up a list of things to improve. We are looking at all


possible options but at the root of it is our message that we want to


keep more people in work delivering those services. Do you think your


members have the stamina to see this through? Will they keep going


with this strike and this action? think they will. They are angry


about the money that has been taken from their wages. The November


strikes up over the national government going to take money out


of their wages. Our members are under attack in not -- by not only


the national government but the council. They are not working for


less money, people keep dipping into their pockets. Thank you both


for coming in today. We will update people on what happens in future.


The idea is to make sure criminals fear the police. That is the


thinking of the new met Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe. He


made the statement when he started his new job but with police budgets


being cut by 20 %, will there be enough coppers to make the robbers


are afraid? Even in Dorset there is concern about how the police can


Like forces up and down the country, Dorset sent several dozen officers


to the capital and elsewhere to help restore order after the riots.


Also like forces across England and Wales, Dorset are facing cuts of 20


%. Locally that means over 100 police officers and 145 support


staff are to go. Other savings include the closure of the 24 hour


custody suite here, one of only three in the whole county. Cuts to


the police marine section and the halving of the flying time of the


Dorset police helicopter. These tours -- to MPs are partners in the


coalition but phone be the impact of a cut on policing the County.


do live in austere times but I am against the cuts as they are


proposed in the police. It is incredibly challenging for police


forces and particularly for Dorset. Let's look for efficiencies that


are not affecting frontline services. I want to see it our


policemen out on the streets rather than being tied up with paperwork


and that bureaucracy has been an issue ever since I have been an MP.


If we can get to grips with that, then a good job will have been done.


The police should not be tampered with. The police numbers should


remain as they are. Police homes, houses and offices should be


reopened. Their reliance on IT, CCTV, of course they are important


but what is most important is human intelligence and that is putting an


officer in every village, town and insuring the public have access to


them 24 hours a day. That have caused is highly unlikely. Labour


meanwhile say the 20 % cuts are irresponsible and the former Labour


MP for South Dorset who lost his seat degrees of. I am very


pessimistic about the impact on crime and on people's sense of


safety in Dorset. We are lucky in Dorset. We have low levels of crime


but whole communities will feel abandoned. They have is a certain


amount it will not achieve it but at less they have professionals to


work with, they will not be able to do a professional job. 20 % cuts


are unrealistic. We said a certain amount of cuts will be necessary to


make the contribution to deficit reduction, but 20 %, nationally as


16,000 police, that is the same number that was needed to restore


order after the riots. Last year, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of


Constabulary said forces should be cut by 12 % and any more would


impact frontline services. But speaking earlier this year,


Dorset's Chief Constable said they were in the position to make the


savings of 20 %. We have to save �18 million over the next four


years. So it is quite a substantial saving to say the least. Having


said that, we have been changing the force for a number of years,


incremental development, we have put ourselves in a good place.


There is no hiding from the fact it will cause a difficult decisions


but what we have is a good process to make sure that we are as good as


we can be with the resources we have. The organisation that


represents the rank and file is less optimistic. My concerns are


that the government are cutting far too much too quickly. They are


cutting police budgets by 20 %. It will impact frontline services as


we can see in relation to the helicopter. I have would ask the


government to heed the advice of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of


Constabulary and only go to top the cent. There is a growing clamour


for the scale of the cuts to be reviewed. Which the Prime Minister


responded to in Parliament this week. Even after the changes, the


police will be able to surge in the way they did in Croydon, Tottenham,


Manchester and Salford. The problem on the night of the riots was that


surge did not take place soon enough. What is so complacent about


the party opposite is they are not prepared to consider any reforms to


get more police on to the frontline, on to our streets. The team cast


with delivering the cars in Dorset is being monitored and their


progress will be reviewed again at the next meeting of the police


authority in a week's time. That is about it for our part of


the show. Peter will be reporting from the Lib Dem Conference


throughout the week. You can keep up-to-date with all things


political here in the self by following Peter's blog. Next week


we will be looking at the contentious issue of changes to


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