Mansfield and Ashfield MPs’ anger over ‘bobbies on buses’

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MPs have reacted angrily to reports that police in remote parts of Nottinghamshire have been using public transport to get about.

It emerged recently that officers in parts of Carlton and Langold, in the far north of the county, are being forced to hop on a bus to reach their beat area if no patrol car is available.

It was initially slammed by Bassetlaw MP John Mann, who called it ‘totally absurd’, claiming it was a clear result of cuts to police resources.

He even quizzed PM David Cameron during Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Commons, although no answer seemed to be given to his query.

And opposition has now come from Mansfield MP Sir Alan Meale and Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero, both of which say the practice is worrying.

Sir Alan said: “I think the day we have bobbies on the bus, it’s a bad thing, I don’t know where we’d go after that. We want more police cars, not less, it’s a false economy if they think it will save money.

“You can’t just catch criminals and them take them on the bus. I wouldn’t let it happen here in Mansfield.”

Meanwhile, Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero said she was shocked by the PM’s ‘lack of answer’ to John Mann’s question.

She added: “I’m now going to write to the police chief in our area to find out how widespread this practice is in and if police in Ashfield have been using public transport to patrol their beat areas.”

Insp Phil Davies from Notts Police said it was just one of the ways police get to their beat areas.

He said: “We travel on foot, use cars, bikes and when appropriate, take public transport to get to patrol areas.

“If there are arrests to be made then we will always use police vehicles for that. Using public transport is just another option of getting around.

“It is not a reaction to financial cuts, nor is it an everyday occurrence.”

MP John Mann quizzed David Cameron during Prime Minister’s Question Time, saying: “It begs the question I’d like to ask the Prime Minister.

Having arrested someone, should they go upstairs (on a bus) should they go down stairs or should they not arrest at all?”

Prompting laughs and banter across the House of Commons, David Cameron responded by saying: “We are back to where we were three years ago when we said we have to make difficult decisions.

“It may be the New Year but it’s the same old Labour party.”