September 25th, 2016

‘West Mercia Police cuts will put lives at risk’

Updated: 11:10 am, May 07, 2015

RESIDENTS’ lives are being put at risk because of police cuts.

West Mercia Police Federation is warning hundreds of police officers could vanish from communities and it could be the end of the force completely as it faces having to make more than £36million worth of savings.

The federation, which represents frontline officers, said it feared hundreds of police officers could vanish from communities and it could be the end of the force completely as it faces more than £36million worth of cuts.

West Mercia Police has axed more than 450 officers over the past four years, 13 per cent of its sergeants, ten per cent of its inspectors, and nearly 16 per cent of its police constables.

Chairman Russell Yeomans said it was an ‘alarming trend’ and the thin blue line was getting thinner.

“At a time when we are under greater threat of online crime and terror attacks, we have fewer officers available when we need them the most.” he said.

“Some politicians will say reducing bureaucracy and new IT will reduce demand. And that crime is falling – the truth is there is more demand for police officers than there ever has been and you still need police officers on the frontline if you want to fight crime.”

He added: “We are all trying to do our best for you the public, but be in no doubt communities are being left vulnerable because of the cuts and the public are being put at risk.”

But despite the cuts crime in Redditch has dropped by over a third in the last four years.

West Mercia Police Chief constable David Shaw said although officer numbers would have to reduce over time, they would still work closely with local communities.

“We have recently gone through an exercise looking at demand for our services across both West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police and this will enable us to deploy our resources in the best possible way in future.” he said.

“In the alliance with Warwickshire Police, we have been able to meet the required cost savings so far. In the next round of cuts it will become even more important to make the best and most effective use of the budget and resources we have and that is what we plan to do.

“It is a fact of life that there will be more savings required but I am confident we can meet those challenges and at the same time provide a police force that effectively and consistently protects people from harm.”

Redditch MP, Karen Lumley added: “I think if the federation has got concerns, it is their job to air them.

“But from what I have seen crime is falling, the police are doing a great job and they are recruiting more officers.”

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