Police fear for crime levels amid budget cuts

An online survey found Lincolnshire police officers believe the severe government cuts will have a negative impact on crime levels and service across the county.

Of the police officers who responded to the Lincolnshire Police Federation survey, 99% believe morale has fallen due to reductions in officers and changes to their terms and conditions.

Meanwhile, 88% of police officers feel that cutting officers (around 70 positions) will have a huge impact on crime levels in the county.

85% say their workload has already increased or will shortly and 92% believe that this could mean a decline in service delivery due to the cuts.

Worryingly, 88% of Lincolnshire officers feel that because of changes in their agreements, many will be inclined to leave their posts due financial difficulties.

The results come after the government announced cuts to police forces over the next four years. In Lincolnshire, the budget for police had to be reduced by 16%.

Over 160 positions could be lost and county parking wardens (except Lincoln) and police tractors have already been scrapped.

More significantly, both the government and Lincolnshire Police Deputy Chief Constable Neil Rhodes reassured residents the cuts would not affect the force despite the changes.

Chair of Lincolnshire Police Federation Stuart Hamilton said: “The message from police officers in Lincolnshire is loud and clear.

“They feel they are being hit from all sides by this government who, in addition to attacking their terms and conditions, are imposing a 20% cut on the service which will undoubtedly lead to increased levels of crime and a poorer service for the public in Lincolnshire.

“The Federation is not opposed to change and accept that policing must play its part in public sector cuts.

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

“That is why it is imperative that those who live and work in Lincolnshire make clear to our local politicians that a cut of this magnitude to the police budget needs to be urgently reconsidered by national government before it is too late and we all suffer the unintended consequences of their actions.”

Source: Lincolnshire Police Federation