Conference 2015 | "Officers run ragged and public safety is in jeopardy"
"Enough is enough," the Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales has told the Government after it emerged that 30 out of 43 forces are downgrading or reviewing neighbourhood policing teams.
Steve White addressed the Home Secretary at the Federation's annual conference in Bournemouth this week. Cuts to policing budgets have left the police service decimated, officers run ragged and public safety in jeopardy, Theresa May heard.
Mr White said: "Cuts have consequences and quite simply, we can do no more. This week we will be discussing what the consequences have been to the service, but more importantly, we will be looking ahead to the dire potential outcomes if things do not change. The dire outcome for officers; and most importantly for the public."
He told the Home Secretary: "We are telling it like it is. Scaremongering? Well, if the public aren't scared, perhaps they would be if they knew just how few cops were on the night shift while they slept last night. So if you genuinely care about policing, if you genuinely care about the security of the citizen of this country, listen to us."
The equivalent of nine police forces have already been wiped off the map, the conference heard. 17,000 police officers and 16,000 members of police staff have gone since 2010.
Mr White added: "We are not shying away from making the public aware of what they have lost so for. Making them aware of what they will lose in the future if police cuts continue. We are not shying away from saying how police officers - ordinary people doing an extraordinary job - have been pushed to the absolute limit. Run ragged. Jeopardising their own health and wellbeing. Trying to do more for the public with far less."
Mr White described a generation of young people growing up never seeing their local police officers unless they fall victim to crime and a "remote and faceless" police service.
He added: "Home Secretary, cuts have consequences. Some are easily seen and measured, many are not. The paradox is that the better the job the police do, the less necessary they appear. We are the goalkeepers of the criminal justice system - and you don't drop the goalie because the team isn't letting in goals."