This in from the Hampshire Police Federation. In their own words. Ed
That’s the warning from Hampshire Police Federation which – as it launches its #CutsHaveConsequences campaign – has told how “crippling budget reductions of £80 million could bring Hampshire Constabulary to its knees.”
Since 2010, the force has lost more than 600 police officers and there are fears that there could be another 400 lost – 1,000 in total – in the next two years.
Goodbye to ‘Bobbies on the Beat’
And the Federation – which represents PCs, sergeants and inspectors – has warned that Bobbies on the Beat could disappear from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight if the drastic cuts continue.
Leaving officers from the force to solely dash from job to job, responding to 999 calls.
John Apter, Chairman of Hampshire Police Federation said,
“Police Stations have been closed, specialist units have been reduced and police officers are at risk of becoming an endangered species.
“The public are losing vital skills, experience and as a result protection. Police officers will continue to do the very best they can, but with such devastating cuts we ask if our best will be good enough?
“Police officers will simply become people who turn up when there is trouble. When 999 has been called. The only time the public will see a British Bobby is when they are arresting people.
“This is wrong. We need cops in communities. Neighbourhood policing is the lifeblood of policing, where we reassure the public and gather vital intelligence. Including on terrorism. This all requires police officers. And they are being cut. At alarming speed.”
The Federation has spoken out today (Monday 2 March) as part of its #CutsHaveConsequences campaign. The campaign – which will run across social media, newspaper and bus adverts – is highlighting the consequences of cuts to policing budgets in Hampshire and what they will mean to the tax-paying public.
You can see the campaign website – and the full #CutsHaveConsequences messaging – online. There will also be regular updates on the Federation’s Twitter account @HantsPolFed.
Mr Apter said:
“We cannot stand by and allow your once proud police force to be decimated, once it’s gone it’s gone. This is not about scaremongering, this is about the cold hard facts.”
How the cuts affect our police service
Some of the other consequences of cuts in Hampshire Constabulary include:
- The number of roads policing officers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight has fallen by more than a third since 2008.
- 33 police stations across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight will be sold by 2018. Four police stations have already gone – another nine are closing this year
- Front desks at police stations closed or had their hours reduced in 2012. They include Cosham, Fratton, Waterlooville, Hayling Island, Park Gate, Bishop’s Waltham and Petersfield.
- Roads reductions – 30 fewer traffic police officers.
- Dogs gone – 7 police dog handler posts axed.
- More than 1,400 jobs have been lost at the force so far – total staffing falling from 7,000 to just over 5,500 people.
Officers and staff “run ragged”
Mr Apter added:
“Like my colleagues I joined this service to make a difference, but the men and women I represent now say they are policing with their hands tied behind their back.
“They are tired, run ragged, they feel unsupported and under-resourced. They cannot be the police officers they want to be thanks to unprecedented cuts to the policing budget.
“I accept that we must take our fair share of the pain in these austere times, but these cuts are too drastic and too deep.”
The Federation is urging members of the public to let politicians of all parties – in person, in writing, by email, on social media – know how they feel on policing.
Mr Apter added,
“If people believe that the police service is vital and worth protecting, the please speak up.
“Let them know that #CutsHaveConsequences – and the only thing you get for less is less.”