at 'financial tipping point' and warn of 'serious consequences'
Police bosses have this week issued a stark warning to the government,
saying the force has reached a 'financial tipping point' and cannot
sustain further funding cuts without "extremely serious consequences."
and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens and Chief Constable Andy
Marsh, pictured right, say further government cuts cannot
be sustained in a sternly-worded letter and report sent to Nick
Hurd, Police and Fire Minister.
a strict curb on pay increases, police officers and staff have shown
tremendous resilience, professionalism and commitment, carrying
out some of the toughest jobs in increasingly difficult circumstances,"
says the report.
we now face a tipping point. We cannot sustain further funding cuts
without extremely serious consequences."
the governments first comprehensive spending review in 2010,
policing in Avon and Somerset has been hit hard with savings of
£65 million and 655 fewer police officers."
will have to find a further £17 million by 2021/22 to balance
our budget going forward."
the same time, the demand we face is increasing and growing in complexity."
threats of extremism, globalisation, organised crime and drugs,
exploitation and abuse are less visible to communities, but if we
fail to tackle them effectively the impact is substantial."
health and missing people account for a considerable amount of police
time; last year we spent over 50,000 hours on this alone."
force has repeatedly been recognised by HMIC as 'outstanding' in
driving efficiency and managing demand and the report states: "We
have achieved this by successfully transforming and innovating to
manage the substantial funding reductions faced by police and other
Constable Andy Marsh added: "The challenging and tragic incidents
of the last two weeks Hastings Road, two fatal collisions
on the M5 and the rise in the national terror threat to critical
are a tangible demonstration of the stretch we are facing."
staff have risen to the challenge to keep people safe, reassured
and comforted with humanity, empathy and professionalism in very
difficult circumstances. But our continuing ability to safeguard
communities, protect the vulnerable, and manage major incidents
of this kind is being severely tested. Its simply not sustainable."
human impact is very concerning. The prevalence of police officer
and staff absence linked to mental health is increasing, annual
pay awards have been capped for many years and the cumulative effect
of this and restrained pay is having an impact on recruitment in
forces up and down the country. In times of rising costs, increased
pressure and minimal pay increases, vocation is no longer always
warns: "Weve reached a tipping point. There are serious
choices to be made and we dont believe we can or should make
those alone. We believe the time has come for others to share the
risk, and budget decisions and future choices about funding should
be made in the full knowledge of what they are."
and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens added: "We have reached
the point where enough is enough and policing in Avon and Somerset
cannot be stretched any further. With yet another terror attack
on the countrys capital, the reverberations felt locally continue
to test all those responsible for ensuring the continued safety
of our local communities."
required savings of £17m to find by 2021/22, crime and the
demand for services rising and changing, all against a backdrop
of a reducing workforce, the current situation is unsustainable.
We need investment in policing, funding to strengthen our neighbourhood
policing teams in order to focus on prevention, tackling terrorism
before it happens."
the Government say there is extra policing on the ground
this does not mean we are magically given additional officers to
increase our numbers. What this means is we are forced to ask officers,
PCSOs, staff and volunteers, who are already working hard, to do
even more; extending their shifts, adding to their tasks and increasing
supportive of the recent announcement of a rise in public sector
pay; however without the Government providing any additional finance
this causes even more significant strain to our stretched budget.
We estimate this will cost approximately £1.1m and without
better real-terms funding protection from the Government, this is
more money we have to find."
Chief Constable and I are already making some difficult choices
locally based on our reducing budgets, lack of funding and investment
and diminishing resources. Its important that the Government
know what we face locally and understand the consequences of our
current situation and the implications on the service we are able
to deliver as a result."