'Wanton destruction' of police jobs must end
Policing is on its knees and cannot take any more cuts, the chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales has warned.
Steve White said the 'wanton destruction' of police jobs must end if the country is to have a police service that is able to protect members of the public.
Speaking on the day the Westminster parties revealed details of their policing and crime manifestos, Mr White added: 'Regardless of which party or coalition of parties gets into power next month, they must recognise one thing - policing is on its knees and simply cannot take any more cuts. Full stop. If the government wants a functioning police service that is capable of protecting the public they must stop the wanton destruction of police numbers that has gone on over the last five years.
'We have lost 17,000 officers and 17,000 staff numbers - put another way, that is losing the equivalent of nine entire forces. Despite the massive efforts of officers to shore the service up, the thin blue line is on the verge of being extinguished altogether.
'Cuts have consequences - to take just one example, people are having to wait significantly longer for officers to arrive at the scene of a crime. The official crime statistics may have fallen but all politicians know this is because people just don't bother to report crime any more - they know there just aren't any officers available to take the call, so what's the point. And yet this is dressed up by politicians as a success story.
'What about the pressures that the cuts will place on counter-terrorism; work to tackle child sexual exploitation; managing sex offenders in the community; policing of football matches; policing drunks in town centres on Friday and Saturday nights? The list goes on. This work is not measured in crime stats but would the public ever forgive the next government should the service find itself unable to fulfil these basic duties because they don't have the money to do so?
'Officers will do whatever they can and more to ensure the public are protected but if the service has to endure more cuts on the scale the major parties are talking about, this will soon become impossible.'