Hampshire Police Federation have warned that crippling budget reductions of £80 million could bring Hampshire Constabulary to its knees as it launches its #CutsHaveConsequences campaign.
Since 2010, the force has lost more than 600 police officers and there are fears that there could be another 400 lost – 1,000 in total – in the next two years.
The Federation – which represents PCs, sergeants and inspectors – has warned that Bobbies on the Beat could disappear from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight if the drastic cuts continue, leaving officers from the force to solely dash from job to job, responding to 999 calls.
John Apter, Chairman of Hampshire Police Federation said:
“Police Stations have been closed, specialist units have been reduced and police officers are at risk of becoming an endangered species.
“The public are losing vital skills, experience and as a result protection. Police officers will continue to do the very best they can, but with such devastating cuts we ask if our best will be good enough?
“Police officers will simply become people who turn up when there is trouble. When 999 has been called. The only time the public will see a British Bobby is when they are arresting people.
“This is wrong. We need cops in communities. Neighbourhood policing is the lifeblood of policing, where we reassure the public and gather vital intelligence. Including on terrorism. This all requires police officers. And they are being cut. At alarming speed.”
The Federation has spoken out today (Monday) as part of its #CutsHaveConsequences campaign. The campaign – which will run across social media, newspaper and bus adverts – is highlighting the consequences of cuts to policing budgets in Hampshire and what they will mean to the tax-paying public.
You can see the campaign website and the full #CutsHaveConsequences messaging at http://www.hampshirepolfed.org.uk/cuts_have_consequences/.
Mr Apter added:
“We cannot stand by and allow your once proud police force to be decimated, once it’s gone it’s gone. This is not about scaremongering, this is about the cold hard facts.”