Sadly the Conservative Government has confirmed its decision to close the Scunthorpe Magistrates’ and Family Court, despite a very good case being put by local people to keep it open. Access to justice is likely to become more difficult and there is a real danger that this will put more pressure on already overstretched police. With around 500 fewer police than 4 years ago as a result of the Conservative Government’s cuts it’s not surprising that things are not as good as they used to be. Unfortunately the poor Inspection Report Humberside Police got before Christmas chimed with what local people have been telling me. They've seemed a bit off the pace, slow to respond to some of the everyday nuisance that impacts badly on people’s lives. In the Town Centre retailers have now taken action themselves to improve the situation with enhanced security which is good, but the police still need to be more visible and proactive. Local people deserve prompt, effective response.
I met with the Assistant Chief Constable recently to express my concerns and was encouraged by the way he listened and what he had to say. Community policing resources are once more being protected and this ought to result in more responsive, visible policing. Let’s hope so! In May everyone will get their opportunity to have their say on whether the police are performing as we would wish when we cast our votes in the Police and Crime Commissioner Elections, the Labour Party candidate Keith Hunter gained unanimous support from the members across Scunthorpe and North Lincolnshire.
But the police aren’t the only public services under pressure - others are also beginning to creak. The Health Service is so important to all of us who rely on it. The Junior Doctors’ dispute has shown a Government that’s lost the trust of too many front line workers. This isn’t good for any of us. I think everyone would agree that hospitals need to deliver appropriately 7 days a week but the aggressive way the Conservative Health Secretary has talked about other health professionals has been most unhelpful. And now by imposing a new contract on Junior Doctors he is taking a massive gamble with our NHS.
Locally the Conservative Council is imposing a new contract on council workers so imposition seems to have become the order of the day! In contrast, despite the massive problems faced by steelworkers, their employer and their unions continue to try hard to work through things together in the most difficult of circumstances. Good industrial relations is a real strength of any organisation. And organisations are at their best when management and workforce are able to operate in a climate of mutual trust tackling difficult issues. After all it’s in everyone’s interest that the businesses and organisations we are part of moves with the time, embracing change. But it’s far better if this is done cooperatively rather than through conflict. Today Conservatives in government, locally and nationally, seem to be far happier than I would wish to go down an adversarial route.