Kingston and Surbiton MP Sir Ed Davey has slammed the government for their cuts to community policing, despite rising crime figures.

Speaking in a parliamentary debate that he initiated on Tuesday, November 7, Sir Ed described how Kingston has lost more than 40 officers in the last two years, and in the last seven years England and Wales have lost nearly 17,000 police officers and more than 4,500 PCSOs.

He said: “First, it is clear that crime is rising. We need to recognise that fact and act. Secondly, the falling police budgets were set before the emerging trend of rising crime took hold; the facts have changed, however, and so must police budgets.

“Thirdly, a good part of any significant increase in police funding must go to community policing, given its vital role as the cornerstone of policing.”

Sir Ed referred to the 13 per cent increase in recorded crime in the year to June, and especially to the 19 per cent rise in violent crime, 8 per cent in murder and manslaughter, 26 per cent in knife crime, 27 per cent in gun crime and 19 per cent in sexual offences.

Policing minister Nick Hurd agreed with Sir Ed during the debate about the importance of community policing, but argued the police are still able to do a good job.

He said: “Having just completed an exercise of speaking to or visiting every single one of the 43 forces in England and Wales, I am struck by the degree to which police and crime commissioners and police chiefs are absolutely determined to keep the community policing model as core business.

“As a London MP, I am also pleased to note that the Met, in its business plan for 2017 to 18, states it will ringfence 1,700 officers to neighbourhood policing, providing two officers and one police community support officer to all 629 wards.

“It is also striking how much creativity police chiefs and PCCs are showing to challenge and redefine the local policing community model under very difficult circumstances.”

Sir Ed has since called on the government to stop cuts to police funding in the upcoming autumn budget.

He said: “The fall in local police numbers and the rise in crime is one of the top issues my constituents raise on the door step. This is why I will not rest until the Government commits to decent levels of funding to keep our streets safe.”