Policing cuts are ‘criminal’

THE head of Derbyshire Police Federation has branded planned cuts to the force as ‘criminal’ and called for a Royal Commission on the future of policing.

Mark Pickard, chairman of the county’s branch of the police union, spoke as the federation’s conference in Bournemouth began last week.

“The Federation is not opposed to change and accepts that policing must play its part in public sector cuts,” said Mr Pickard.

“However, if this Government truly believes in considered and informed change for the better then it should have the courage of its convictions and establish a Royal Commission on policing.

“Cuts of this magnitude are criminal and, despite the very best efforts of rank and file police officers, will undoubtedly lead to a poorer service for the residents and businesses in Derbyshire.”

The federation says Government cuts to police budgets combined with changes to pensions could drive officers out of the job.

It also claims changes recommended by the Winsor Review to police pay and conditions could have harmful effects.

The federation added in a statement: “The recommendations will see the vast majority of police officers take a real time pay cut on top of increased workloads.

“Some could be up to £4,000 worse off and this takes no account of inflation and other external factors that may see costs rise in the coming months.”

Of the 296 Derbyshire members who went online to respond to a national federation survey, 98 per cent said morale had fallen due to the planned budget cuts, the federation said.

A total of 72 per cent of the respondents thought their workload had increased or would increase in future and 87 per cent of them thought the standard of policing in Derbyshire would drop due to the planned cuts.

Added Mr Pickard: “The message from police officers in Derbyshire is loud and clear. They feel they are being hit from all sides by this Government.”

In March, Home Secretary Theresa May said: “We struck a tough but fair settlement for the police in the spending review but with a record budget deficit, we are in extraordinary circumstances.”