BUDGET cuts have left police in Portsmouth struggling to cope, claims the man who represents rank-and-file officers in the county.
Hampshire Police Federation chairman John Apter made his claim in response to a statement by Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond.
She told the Commons that crime rates would ‘continue to fall as the economy improved’.
But Mr Apter said: ‘The garden is not as rosy as some like Flick Drummond would like to paint it.
‘The cuts to policing are damning and have had a detrimental impact and if the next round of budget cuts are as damaging as we fear, it will have a devastating impact on local policing.
‘In Portsmouth officers are struggling to answer 999 calls. That’s the reality of the budget cuts and the challenges that the force faces.’
He explained the nature of crime had changed over the years, with increases in sex offences, violent crimes and cyber-related criminality.
However, he was adamant, that even if the state of the nation’s economy was to improve, policing would still struggle, if austere cuts remained a reality.
‘You can’t have your cake and eat it,’ he added.