Police Federation chairman says strain on Hampshire officers is huge

John Apter, chairman of Hampshire Police Federation
John Apter, chairman of Hampshire Police Federation

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The chairman of Hampshire’s Police Federation says officers are under enormous strain because there are fewer of them.

John Apter spoke out as the level of overtime being worked by policemen and women was revealed.

High-profile events, including the America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth, have attracted ‘additional security’ after terror attacks in Europe have led to a knock-on for routine policing.

It comes as the force has had to reduce its number of officers from 3,756 in 2010 to 2,895 as of May this year due to cuts of around £80m by the Home Office since 2010.

Just last week 999 response officers covering Fareham and Gosport were told to work a 12-hour shift.

Full-time officers work 40 hours in a week, earning overtime per shift if they work over their hours.

Overtime payment rates have been heavily reduced since the implementation of the Winsor review in 2011.

Police on overtime claim time and a third - but work the first half an hour for free.

There are three kinds of variable shifts - days, lates and nights. Start times vary depending on need.

Mr Apter said: ‘Unless there’s an exceptional circumstances – I would say being in summer is not exceptional – they’ve got to have 11 hours between each shift.

‘They can do that with a 12-hour shift but any slippage does impact on the next shift.

‘It would appear the summer period has surprised the force.’

Between April 2015 and March this year, 7,864 days were missed by 277 officers and staff who took sick leave due to stress or stress-related illnesses. In April 2014 to March 2015, 190 officers and staff took stress-related sick leave over 6,480 days.

Chief Superintendent David Powell said: ‘We have reduced our number of police officers and staff by 1,500 since 2010.

‘As a consequence we utilise all of our resources when dealing with calls from the public.

‘The summer period is our busiest and demand on us is exacerbated by policing requirements for festivals and events across Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight.

‘The force area has the second-highest number of events across the UK and this number has risen by an additional 55 events since last year.’