Hampshire police funding row reignites in wake of London terror attack

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Parsons Green Underground Station. Picture: WikiCommons (Labelled for reuse)

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Policing in Hampshire is in 'crisis' with tens of millions of pounds more to be cut - equivalent to 450 police officers, it has been warned.

John Apter, Hampshire Police Federation chairman, has spoken out after criticisms of cuts to police were made in the wake of the London Bridge terror attack.

Former Hampshire police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes

Former Hampshire police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes

Hampshire's force has lost £80m in funding in recent years, losing around 21 per cent of offices between 2010 and 2016.

Earlier this year the chief constable Olivia Pinkney said it faced a with a near-£45m shortfall and called on government to change the way it designates cash to forces - the funding formula - to be fairer.

Fresh focus has been drawn on cuts to policing following Saturday's attack, that saw seven killed and 48 injured in London.

Today Mr Apter said: 'The funding formula moving forward, if it's realised, it would be devastating.

'The funding formula that's in place at the moment - the government grant for policing - we've had it cut in real terms by 25 per cent.

'It's then topped up by the local precept set by the police and crime commissioner.

'But if the funding formula is not in our view made to be much fairer then Hampshire Constabulary is set to lose tens of millions more.

'If we suffer further suffer cuts I genuinely can't see where we will take that money from - that's the equivalent of 450 people. In addition to what we have already lost any additional cuts would be devastating".

He added: 'Many of the rank and file believe that those who are responsible for cutting the budgets want to break us.

'Many of my colleagues are saying we're broken already.'

Mr Apter told BBC radio that policing is at 'crisis point' with 1,000 fewer police officers.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary said the force was £45m underfunded in March this year.

But former police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes has said government has ignored the situation.

He said: 'I know there's significant strain now on all senior officers to deliver and keep show on road.

'Counter terror and Prevent agenda now will add to this.

'It's wrong government ignores the situation and expects more policing to be done.'

Meanwhile, questions are being asked of the security services after it emerged that one of the London Bridge terrorists was known to MI5.

Khuram Shazad Butt, 27, was investigated by officers in 2015 but they found no evidence of attack planning and he was 'prioritised in the lower echelons of our investigative work', Britain's top counter-terrorism officer said.

Pakistani-born British citizen Butt and Rachid Redouane, who claimed to be Moroccan-Libyan, were two of the three men who carried out the deadly assault in which seven people died and dozens more were injured on Saturday night.

Officers at Scotland Yard are working to identify the third accomplice, while 12 people who were arrested in east London in the wake of the murderous rampage have been released without charge.