With raised terror alert, England plans to reduce the police force

 
With raised terror alert, England plans to reduce the police force
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One in six police jobs expected to go after election, say senior officers.

President of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), Sir Hugh Orde said official projections show that a further 20 per cent cut in Home Office funding would cause far greater harm to frontline policing than so far seen.

More than 34,000 police jobs – one in six of the total – are expected to be axed in a new round of deep public spending cuts after the general election, senior officers have warned.

President of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), Sir Hugh Orde said official projections show that a further 20 per cent cut in Home Office funding would cause far greater harm to frontline policing than so far seen.

Sir Hugh warned of serious implications for the statutory responsibilities of the police and for their role in safeguarding the most vulnerable in society, the Guardian reported.

Estimates by Acpo that 34,000 jobs out of a total police workforce of 205,000 could disappear within three years may have proved wide of the mark.

The expectation that police will face a 20 per cent cut in funding is based on grant reductions recommended by the police watchdog, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

However, senior Home Office officials have privately told the police in England and Wales that this will not be enough and they should expect and prepare for a deeper 25 per cent cut in Whitehall funding after next May’s election.

Police and crime commissioners, from across the political spectrum, have warned the government that such savings will be impossible to deliver in many parts of England and Wales and that “forces are ready to fall over”.

Earlier this year HMIC identified 17 out of the 43 police forces that may “struggle to sustain themselves in the medium term in light of continued austerity”.

The 23 per cent cut in police funding implemented as part of the austerity measures introduced in 2010 is expected to lead to the loss of 34,000 police officers and staff

by March next year – and the same number of jobs could go in a new round of cuts.

The number of police offi cers has fallen from a peak of 141,600 at the time of the last election to 125,400 in March this year – a fall of 16,000 uniformed officers.

Ministers have already acknowledged that deeper real cuts in departmental budgets will be needed after the election, whichever party wins, because it is taking far longer than originally planned to pay off the deficit.

Cross-party protection for the health, schools and overseas aid budgets means that unprotected departments such as the Home Office and local government face particularly severe cuts, the Guardian said.

“Modelling so far, based on HMIC recommendations for grant reduction, would suggest that if budgets were to be further reduced by 20 per cent it is not unrealistic to expect forces to lose another 34,000 posts,” Sir Hugh Labour's policing spokesman, Jack Dromey, in response to his request for an update on police resourcing.

“This figure would rise exponentially if the cut imposed was to increase. The impact, however, in ourview would be far greater on the frontline.." Sir Hugh added.

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