THE man representing rank-and-file police in the county has said he fears the police officer role is being attacked.
Hampshire Police Federation chairman John Apter fears powers being given to PCSOs and volunteers could erode the role of police officers.
He told The News: ‘Police officers I speak to feel very let down at the moment. They don’t believe the role of a police officer is held in a high regard.’
It comes as PCSO numbers continue to be fully protected at Hampshire police despite police officer numbers being slashed by almost 1000 due to budget cuts. The government is consulting on plans to give police staff and volunteers police powers.
In a message to federation members, Mr Apter said: ‘This consultation suggests a free for all with police powers being handed out like confetti to the cheapest bidder.
‘We shouldn’t forget that we already have dedicated police volunteers who have full police powers, they are Special Constables who provide invaluable support to their regular colleagues.
‘This plan goes much further and is nothing more than an opportunity to do policing on the cheap, or in some cases for free. My fear is that some chief constables and police and crime commissioners will see this as an opportunity to reduce police officer numbers even further and allow precious police powers to be passed to unpaid volunteers.’
Hampshire Constabulary’s chief constable has said the force could lose up to between 800 and 1,200 jobs if it is cut by £40m to £65m on top of £80m savings.