POLICE officers in Cheshire think criminals are the only winners from the budget cuts.
A survey reveals officers believe the Government’s 20% cut in the police budget during the next four years and the reduction in police numbers will have a detrimental effect on crime levels and result in the public getting a poorer service.
A total of 98% said morale has fallen because of the cuts and possible changes to terms and conditions.
Almost nine out of 10 – 87% – believe cutting police numbers will have a detrimental effect on crime levels.
A total of 80% believe their workload has already increased or will increase and 92% think there will be a decline in service delivery.
The view from the sharp end is in stark contrast to the views expressed by the Government that cuts are achievable without crime rising or affecting service delivery.
The 20% budget cut was announced at the same time that changes to pensions were revealed 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,” said Simon Roberts, chairman of the Cheshire Police Federation.
The survey reveals 92% of officers think the changes to their terms and conditions will have such a detrimental effect that some will be compelled to quit due to financial difficulties.
Mr Roberts added: “The message 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% cut on the service which will undoubtedly lead to increased levels of crime and a poorer service for the public in Cheshire.
“The Federation is not opposed to change and accept policing must play its part in public sector cuts. If this government truly believes in considered and informed change, 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 rank and file officers, will undoubtedly lead to a poorer service.
“That’s why it’s imperative that those who live and work in Cheshire make clear that a cut of this magnitude needs to be urgently reconsidered before it’s too late and we all suffer the consequences.”