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Chairman John Apter's Christmas and New Year message to Hampshire and IOW Police Officers.

John said: "I can't believe Christmas is almost upon us again, where have the past 12 months gone?

"At this time of year we look backwards and look forwards. And sadly in the past 12 months, the budget cuts that we've endured have taken their toll, with officers and staff in many areas struggling to cope.

"We've seen demand on our colleagues increase more than ever before, but at the same time we've seen our resources have been reduced.

"As I've said many times through this year, this is simply not sustainable and there comes a point where we must decide what it is we're not going to do. Policing, not only across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, but also wider, has failed to understand that we simply can't continue to do what we do with the resources we have. Something has to give.

"Looking forward, you will know that the chief constable has recently announced a further £10 million must be cut from our budget for 2018. This will mean Hampshire Constabulary will have cut £90 million from its budget by the end of 2018. Even with the recent announcement allowing local Police & Crime Commissioners to increase the council tax for policing the future will still be tough. This will not reverse the damage which has already been done.

"It is no wonder that we feel the Government, who are after all responsible for these cuts, have shown nothing but contempt for policing. Despite the cuts and the pressures they face, police officers across the force are working their hardest to do the best they can under difficult circumstances.

"This is typical of those colleagues I am proud to represent, but I am also aware that this takes its toll. That is why in 2018 we will continue to ensure that the wellbeing of our officers and staff is more than just a poster on a wall. It must mean something, and it must be seen to be to the benefit of people.

"The future is going to continue to be challenging. I am deeply frustrated that our pleas to Government for more understanding that policing can't cope have not been listened to. However, the public expect policing to continue, and no matter how bad things get, we will do our best to ensure it does. My real concern is that our best will simply not be good enough.

"Hampshire Police Federation does its very best for those we represent. Local reps work tirelessly to look after officers, often in their darkest moments. We will continue to do this, and I am proud to be the Chair of a local federation which has demonstrated time and time again it cares, and it does the right things for the right reasons. That doesn't mean to say we always get it right, but we do our best.

"Let me finish by wishing you and your loved ones a very happy, peaceful and safe Christmas and New Year. If you are working over the festive period, have a safe one...and don't eat too many mince pies!"

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