Survey reveals police fear cuts will result in poor public service and increased crime
- Published on Monday, 16 May 2011 09:16
- Posted by Scott Buckler
A survey published today shows that police officers in England and Wales believe the government cut of 20 percent of the police budget over the next four years and a reduction in police officer numbers will have a detrimental effect on crime levels and result in the public getting a poorer service (May 16th)
From over 42,000 police officers who responded to the online survey, a phenomenal 98% said that morale has fallen owing to planned police budget cuts, the possibility of a reduction in police officer numbers, possible changes to their terms and conditions, and how this will all impact upon the service they are able to give to the public.
An incredible 86% of police officers believe cutting police officer numbers will have a detrimental effect on crime levels. As a result of the reduction in police officer numbers 78% of respondents believe their workload has already increased or will increase in the future and an astonishing 91% of police officers believe there will be a decline in service delivery due to planned budget cuts.
This stands in stark contrast to the views expressed by the government that cuts to policing are achievable without crime rising or affecting service delivery to the public.
The 20 percent budget cut to policing was announced by the government at the same time that changes to pensions were announced by Lord Hutton and the Winsor Review of police pay and conditions was published. If implemented, the Winsor Report recommendations will see the vast majority of police officers take a real time pay cut on top of increased workloads. Some could be up to £4,000 worse off and this takes no account of inflation and other external factors that may see costs rise in the coming months. 90% of police officers believe changes to their terms and conditions will have such a detrimental effect that some police officers will be compelled to leave the service owing to financial difficulties.
Paul McKeever, Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales warns; “The message from police officers across England and Wales is loud and clear. They feel they are being hit from all sides by a government who appear intent on pushing terms and conditions back decades, cutting police numbers and imposing a 20 percent cut on the service which will undoubtedly lead to increased levels of crime and a poorer service for the public.
He continues, “The Federation is not opposed to change and accept that policing must play its part in public sector cuts. But there is a right way and a wrong way to reform. If this government truly believes in considered and informed change for the better then they should have the courage of their convictions and establish a Royal Commission on policing.
“They also need to urgently revisit the decision to impose a 20% budget cut on the overall policing budget. Such a severe cut will result in a criminal’s charter and undoubtedly see crime levels rise, an increase in the public fear of crime and a less resilient police service. 20% cuts are criminal; they are not achievable and go directly against the advice given to government by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary as to the maximum level of 12 percent savings the police service could possibly achieve before it impacts on the quality of the service the public receive.
Mr McKeever ends, “Let’s improve policing, not destroy it. The government must listen to these views from the frontline and give the public and the police the opportunity to shape a police service that is appropriate for the future and able to deliver what is expected of it.”
Source: Police Federation