THE chief constable of Hampshire police has said ‘choices’ have to be made with little clarity on how much cash the force will get in coming years.
Speaking to The News, Olivia Pinkney said the changes in the make-up of government and recent terror attacks had made funding a ‘live debate’.
Mrs Pinkney, who took office last year, said the force is still preparing for a £13m cliff edge by 2021, while also modelling above and below.
She said: ‘Having made lots of efficiencies over the recent years there are different choices to be made.
‘So as a result of what’s happened in recent weeks, it’s truly awful, and the focus, it does mean it’s a very live debate, and so it should be, about funding around policing and security.’
The force is under increased strain with 1,000 fewer officers and a huge demand on investigation staff as they tackle an increase from 800 reported rapes in 2013 to a forecasted 2,500 this year.
But Mrs Pinkney added: ‘We will always be there when someone needs us in an emergency, we will always investigate serious and complex crimes.’
The News revealed how officers were told to pull 12-hour shifts last summer in a bid to cover routine work, and cover 55 major events in the county, when the force was hit by surprise demand and leave.
Mrs Pinkney said changes made this summer include:
n Drafting in the special constabulary and volunteers to reduce policing at events.
n Some staff and officers now unable to take leave over the summer school holidays.
n ‘Squeezing’ technology and buildings to make savings.
n New recruits have been trained and are on the streets.
‘This summer we learnt from last summer,’ she said.
Mrs Pinkney repeated her commitment to neighbourhood policing, but highlighted ‘upstream’ work in preventing crime, such as monitoring paedophiles online.
She said ‘what’s left depends on what we can invest’ with cash from government.
‘I’m really determined to do the very best to do what we can but the pie is only so big,’ Mrs Pinkney added.