A CAMPAIGN has launched today against cuts to policing in Hampshire.
Organised by the Hampshire Police Federation, which represents 3,000 front-line police officers, Cuts Have Consequences will focus on what it believes could be the end of community policing.
We know that the vast majority of the public support policing so I want their support to say enough is enoughJohn Apter, Hampshire Police Federation
Chairman of the Federation, John Apter, said: ‘This is about giving the public the cold hard facts on the consequences of the cuts.
‘Police stations have been closed, specialist units reduced, and police officers are at risk of becoming an endangered species.’
Since 2010, 600 police officers have been lost with another 400 posts potentially facing the axe over the next two years, the federation claims.
‘We know that the vast majority of the public support policing so I want their support to say enough is enough,’ added Mr Apter.
The federation says that some of the other consequences of cuts in Hampshire police include:
n The number of roads policing officers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight has fallen by more than a third since 2008.
n 33 police stations across the county will be sold by 2018. Four police stations have already gone – another nine are closing this year.
n Front desks at police stations closed or had their hours reduced in 2012. They include Cosham, Fratton, Waterlooville, Hayling Island, Park Gate, Bishop’s Waltham and Petersfield.
n Roads reductions – 30 fewer traffic police officers.
n Dogs gone – seven police dog handler posts axed.
n More than 1,400 jobs have been lost at the force so far – total staffing falling from 7,000 to just over 5,500 people.
Organisers are warning that if cuts to the service continue, Hampshire could see the demise of community policing.
A statement released by the federation said: ‘People in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight could be left with a police service only responding to 999 calls.
‘This is wrong. We need cops in communities.’
But police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes has defended the state of policing in the county, saying: ‘HMIC recently highlighted that Hampshire Constabulary is performing well, despite the cuts, and is putting victims at the heart of policing, a priority in my Police and Crime Plan.
‘While concerns about the gradual erosion of neighbourhood policing have been raised nationally, here in Hampshire I have fought hard to make sure that neighbourhood policing remains alive and well.’
Over the past four years Hampshire police has seen £52.9m in cuts and will face at least a further budget reduction of £25m between now and 2016/17.
Chief constable Andy Marsh, said: ‘The constabulary has been through a sustained period of change and it is clear that further challenges lie ahead.
‘Nevertheless, the independent evidence shows that our communities are getting a good service and they are getting it for less money than elsewhere in the country.’
Campaign organisers hope that the public will contact politicians and asking them to oppose the cuts.
‘We are being given targets to hit and deadlines to meet, which we do, but we are punished by having more and more money taken off us,’ said Mr Apter.
‘There comes a point where policing becomes unsustainable.’
For more information on the campaign visit hampshirepolfed.org.uk/cuts_have_consequences