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Victims of crime paying the price for cuts to the policing budget

Police Federation of England Wales | Police Federation of England and Wales

3 min read Partner content

Victims of crime are suffering with a poorer service because cuts to the police budget have resulted in added strain and pressure on detectives, according to a new survey published today.

The results of a national detectives’ survey undertaken by the Police Federation of England and Wales presents stark findings. Not only do the results highlight the continuing pressure that detective officers throughout the country are under, more significantly they show that detectives throughout the country believe victims and witnesses of crime are getting a substandard level of service as a result.

The results voice the concerns of nearly 4,000 detective officers in England and Wales. The pressure on this vital investigative role in policing is taking its toll, with only 39% of respondents saying that they are ‘able most or all of the time to provide the service victims needed.’ This means most victims are not getting the service they need since the majority of officers (61%) are never or only sometimes able to provide the service needed, due to workload.

Also, 34% of detectives who responded said that they are ‘able most or all of the time to provide the service witnesses needed’- again meaning that, due to workload, the majority of officers (66%) are never or only sometimes able to provide the services that should be afforded to witnesses who are vital in helping bring cases to court to protect the public.

Overall this shows a less than satisfactory service to the general public; for detectives throughout the country this is causing angst and frustration as they are stretched to capacity to deliver what they can in difficult circumstances.

Paul Ford, Secretary, Police Federation’s National Detectives’ Forum, said:

“No officer in the country wants to let the public down. The results of this survey makes for very uncomfortable reading but highlights in no uncertain terms the actual impact that the cuts are having on victims, witnesses, detective officers and the police service as a whole.

“This is the sad reality of the state that the service is in. Victims and witnesses are our primary concern and it is grossly unfair that detectives are under such intense pressure to provide the service that the public want and deserve.

“Officers are clearly stretched to capacity and doing their level best to deliver against the odds. The austerity cuts are having an effect on everyone but this is totally unacceptable; it is jeopardising the service the public get and will have a detrimental impact on future successful investigations and prosecutions.”

The results also show:

54% said they did not have the necessary access to technology in order to perform their role effectively;

80% said service cuts have impacted on their well-being;

52% said that their working hours are not flexible for those with caring responsibilities;

88% said an increased workload has led them to feel under pressure;

74% said that work keeps them away from family/social activities more than they would like;

In comparison with a similar survey undertaken by the Police Federation last year, 90% of respondents now think the police service to the public has deteriorated – of which 55% think that it has deteriorated a lot.

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