Officers raise fears over police cuts

Crime levels may soar after the Government slashes police budgets by 20%, officers fear.
Crime levels may soar after the Government slashes police budgets by 20%, officers fear.
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DRASTIC budget cuts have led to a slump in morale and fears over rising crime, a police survey has revealed.

Northumbria Police officers raised grave concerns over increased workload, falling standards in services and a hike in crime levels when they were quizzed as part of a Police Federation survey on the swathe of Government cuts.

A total of 99 per cent of officers said the cuts, which have forced the force to make savings of more than £57million, have led to a fall in morale across the force.

A further 90.6 per cent said the standard of service provided to the public will be affected, and 86.7 per cent felt the budget cuts would lead to a rise in crime.

Charles Munroe, Northumbria Police Federation chairman, said: “When you are getting rid of 800 support staff and 300 police officers, I think it very definitely will have an effect on the service provided now.

“If anyone thinks they can do the same job with 20 per cent less then I think they’re wrong.

“Morale is a difficult thing to measure in this line of work but I know everyone is trying to do the best job they can but it’s not easy.

“I think members do feel a bit disheartened and that’s going to have a knock-on effect.”

The survey, which was completed by 40 per cent of officers, also revealed 82.2 per cent of those quizzed have seen a rise in their workload.

A further 90 per cent said the cuts and proposed shake-up to officers working conditions, including pensions and pay, would have such a huge impact that officers will want to leave.

Mr Munroe added: “In general members are saying that we are part of the public sector and they know cuts have to be made but we could achieve what the Government is looking for with cuts of just 12 per cent not up to 20 per cent.

“We have had much more severe cuts than any other part of the public sector.”

“The issues raised concern nationally established terms and conditions for individuals as well as local implications of budget reductions.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “There is no doubt that these are challenging financial times and I would like to reassure people that I am 100 per cent committed to protecting as far as possible the policing services we offer to our communities.

“We will maintain as far as possible the numbers of 24/7 response, detectives supporting our neighbourhoods and neighbourhood teams, including Community Support Officers who patrol our neighbourhoods.

“This is about working differently and doing more with less.

“We’re proud of our officers and staff and the dedication and commitment they demonstrate.

“By working together we can meet these challenges and maintain the high standards the public quite rightly expect from us.”

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