Return To Police Austerity Would Be ‘Perverse’

POLICE forces can’t keep doing more and more if funding is slashed, Hampshire Police Federation has said ahead of this month’s budget.

It has been reported that the autumn budget on 17 November is likely to include public spending cuts, but Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoë Wakefield said it would be “perverse” to return to austerity when the police had just recruited thousands of new officers. She added she was worried that wellbeing initiatives could suffer the brunt of the cuts.

She said: “I suspect that police funding will be cut in the budget. It seems to be the answer to everything: ‘Let’s cut funding to our public services’. But forces are already struggling. The cost of living is impacting forces as well, particularly fuel prices. Police cars are driven 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, so that’s a huge additional cost for them to find.

“If the Government is going to cut the budget to forces then I think it also needs to say what it’s happy for police forces to stop doing, because we just can’t keep doing everything with less and less funding.

“I’d be surprised if this leads to a period of austerity that’s as bad as last time because the Government has just told us to recruit all these new officers and for it now to cut our funding so we can’t even pay those new officers, that would seem a bit perverse.

“But my concern is that it will be the wellbeing elements for officers that will be cut, and that can have a real impact on people’s mental health and resilience. That’s the big concern.”

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