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Whitehall ‘in denial’ over cuts to police
THE Government has been accused of ignoring public fears that police funding cuts will leave them more vulnerable to criminals.
Seven out of ten people who took part in a national YouGov survey said reductions in Westminster cash for police forces was hitting frontline services, with nearly half saying the police should be protected from drastic public sector cuts.
Of those who responded, 76 per cent said falling police numbers would put communities at greater risk, leading the North Yorkshire Police Federation, the organisation which represents officers in the county, to claim the Government was in denial about the impact of the cuts programme.
Its chairman, Mark Botham, said a huge drop in funding meant politicians were in danger of “dismantling a police service which is the envy of the world” and the survey’s findings backed up the need for an urgent rethink over police budgets “before it is too late”.
“Government ministers keep trying to convince the public that the cuts are not affecting the front-line and that, even with significantly reduced numbers, the police can continue to provide an effective service,” he said.
“But this survey confirms that the majority of the public agree with what the police federation has been saying all along.
“The frontline is being affected; the public understands what we are saying and are rightly concerned. Yet the Government is still intent on denying this is the case.
“We expect to take our share of the necessary public spending cuts, but the additional reductions we are facing are having an impact on our ability to deliver the level of service the public expects.
“Our members are concerned the cuts are putting the public at risk and now we know that the majority of the public share their concerns.”
The poll also revealed more than 60 per cent of those surveyed had little or no trust in either Home Secretary Theresa May or Prime Minister David Cameron being able to deliver an effective police service in England and Wales.
North Yorkshire Police Federation is now calling on the Government to act on the survey’s findings.
“We would urge ministers to take time to re-evaluate the cuts programme,” said Mr Botham.
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