Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Police 'Cannot Take More Cuts'

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Police 'Cannot Take More Cuts'

Article excerpt

Byline: Claire Miller and Tom Ough Reporters

POLICE chiefs have warned their ability to protect the North East is being "eroded" as figures expose the true extent of frontline cuts.

Durham Police fared worst of any force in the country with the number of officers down from 1,545 in 2009 to 1,157 last year - a drop of 25%.

Neighbouring Northumbria Police saw the number of officers fall by 17% over the same period, from 4,122 officers in 2009 to 3,425 in 2015.

Andy Jackson, chairman of Durham Police Federation, warned the burden on police was increasing thanks to cuts to social and health services and said 50 more officers must be cut in Durham to meet government targets.

He said: "I firmly believe that our ability to protect and serve all of our communities effectively is being eroded.

"My deep concern is that the police service cannot take any more cuts to officer numbers. I would argue that you still need boots on the ground if you want to keep the public safe."

But Ron Hogg, Durham's police and crime commissioner said the force had an excellent record - despite suffering substantial cuts.

He said: "Despite the cuts, recorded crime in the force area has fallen by about 20% since 2009 and our surveys show that confidence in the police has also increased by around 20% in that time.

"This is echoed in recent HMIC inspections which have rated Durham Constabulary as the best police force in the country for both effectiveness and efficiency."

But Durham MP Roberta Blackman-Woods argued frontline policing should be given priority over police and crime commissioners.

She added: "It makes no sense to me that whilst police officer numbers have been cut, the government continues to employ Police and Crime Commissioners on salaries of PS100,000 a year. …

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