The new bunch at the Home Office are, without a doubt, feeling pretty nervous about what lies ahead of them. Their predecessors presided over a big drop in crime alongside a huge surge in expenditure on police and a large growth of our prison population. No one is exactly sure how, and even if, the two are linked. But the challenge that faces this administration is working out how to spend less on our police and how to empty out our swollen prisons, without seeing a surge in crime for which they will be held directly responsible.
The challenge is further complicated by the recession. So far we have not seen the surge of recession-linked crime that had been expected. But when harsh cuts begin to bite, that could all change very quickly. Public order may be threatened by widespread strikes.
The police will need to be kept happy, but it looks as if our new Home Secretary, Theresa May, may already be facing backbench revolt after making an unpopular announcement about elected police commissioners. In short, it will be business as usual. Who’d be the Home Secretary?
07 June 2010