Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Where's the Front Line? Police Demand to Know What Cuts Lie Ahead

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Where's the Front Line? Police Demand to Know What Cuts Lie Ahead

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian Pearson

NORTHUMBRIA Police Force faces job losses, rising bills passed on to residents and massively overworked staff as a result of the Government cuts.

That was the claim last night from its own workforce as officers called on police chiefs to come clean and say just what the impact will be of cuts worth up to 20% of their budget.

Over the next four years the force will have to shrink its spending by 4% a year after the Government ordered forces across the United Kingdom to take their share of the cuts.

Durham Police Force has already said it will have to make redundancies, but despite a "real terms" cut worth around 20% Northumbria has yet to say what the jobs implication will be. Northumbria Police Authority has said the force wants to "maintain frontline policing services" and insists there will be no reduction in the way "neighbourhoods are policed".

But Russ Watson, chairman of the Northumbria Police Federation, has said that, at the very least, officers deserve to know what exactly counts as frontline policing.

Mr Watson said: "Are we saying CID is not safe or traffic policing or forensics? "Policing is resource intensive and we need to be told what they mean by frontline policing.

"My view is that it involves all the aspects of policing: crime and disorder, public safety, vulnerable members of society, keeping our roads as safe as possible, investigating serious organised crime and the list goes on.

"Whilst the effects of the spending review are being considered and a clearer picture emerges towards the end of the year any savings which are being contemplated should not be to the detriment of our members and a police service the envy of the world." He warned that 4,100 police officers and 2,500 police staff are already at their most efficient, and that extra pressure put on them as a result of cuts elsewhere in the force will destroy their work life balance. …

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