‘Cuts are criminal’ claims police federation

A POLICE federation that represents hundreds of officers claims crime will rise due to Government cuts.

A survey by the Cleveland Police Federation revealed that 88 per cent of officers think cutting staff numbers will have a detrimental effect on crime levels.

Another 73 per cent believe their workloads have already increased or will increase and 90 per cent say the service will be worse for the changes.

Out of those who took part in the voluntary questionnaire, every officer agreed that morale has fallen due to the cuts.

Stephen Matthews, chairman of Cleveland Police Federation, said: “The message from police officers in Cleveland is loud and clear.

“They feel they are being hit from all sides by this Government who, in addition to attacking their terms and conditions, are imposing a 20 per cent cut on the service which will undoubtedly lead to increased levels of crime and a poorer service for the public in Cleveland.

“The federation is not opposed to change and accept that policing must play its part in public sector cuts.

“However, 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.

“Cuts of this magnitude are criminal and, despite the very best efforts of ranks and file police officers, will undoubtedly lead to a poorer service for the residents and businesses in Cleveland.”

He has called on those unhappy with what is happening to make their voices heard.

Mr Matthews added: “It is imperative that those who live and work in Cleveland make clear to our local politicians that a cut of this magnitude to the police budget needs to be urgently reconsidered by national Government before it is too late and we all suffer the unintended consequences of their actions.”

Cleveland Police chiefs face a 20 per cent reduction to their budget due to the Government’s cutbacks, with savings of £24m needing to be made over the next four years.

They have already accepted that 230 officers will have to go over the next 24 months and savings will have to be made across the service.

Chief Constable of Cleveland Police Sean Price said: “Cleveland Police, like every other force in the country, has to make difficult decisions about the savings we have to make.

“We completely understand our officers’ fears, but know that they are working hard to ensure every effort is being put into providing the best frontline policing service we can to the people of Cleveland.”