Cash-strapped cops ‘pushed to the limit’ by Government cuts with workload ‘unsustainable’
PUBLISHED: 16:00 06 July 2017
Avon and Somerset Constabulary officers have an ‘unsustainable’ workload as the force has been ‘pushed to the limit’ by Government cuts, warn police bosses in a plea for more funding.
Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens called on Prime Minister Theresa May and Government ministers Amber Rudd and Nick Hurd to grant more funding for ‘counter terrorism, armed and local policing’ after seven years of budget cuts.
The PCC, in a letter written in conjunction with Chief Constable Andy Marsh, said it would be an ‘understatement’ to describe it a ‘testing time’ for the force.
Avon and Somerset has been forced to save £60million since 2010 after budget cuts, and must save £20million more by 2022 – but Ms Mounstevens believes investment is needed.
She said: “Between the multiple terror attacks to ensuring the continued safety of the local communities of Avon and Somerset, like other public services, policing is being pushed to its limit.
“Policing needs investment to meet current threats.”
Chief Constable Andy Marsh echoed the commissioner’s sentiments.
He said: “Obviously seven years of cuts has meant that our workforce has reduced.
“I’m forced to ask my officers, who are already working hard, to do even more; extending their shifts, adding to their tasks and increasing their workload and this is not sustainable in the long term.”
Britain has suffered four terrorist attacks since March, with vehicle attacks in Westminster, London Bridge and Finsbury Park – plus the Manchester Arena bombing.
Mr Marsh believes more funding should be allocated for counter-terrorism policing.
He said: “We’re asking the Government to look at the funding available for counter terrorism, armed and local policing. We need to be strengthening our neighbourhood policing teams, focusing on prevention and working closely with local residents.
“The attacks in London and Manchester have shown the incredible bravery and the pivotal role our police service plays at the very frontline of our country’s security.”
PCC Mounstevens added: “While the Chief Constable and I continue to do all we can to protect frontline policing, we feel strongly any additional funding for counter terrorism and armed policing should not come from further reducing budgets for local policing.”
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