THE chairman of Hampshire Police Federation says a government announcement of more cash for forces is just ‘smoke and mirrors’.
This week the government said that there was an extra £450m for policing in England and Wales.
But John Apter said: ‘On the face of it this appears good news but as we have come to expect this is smoke and mirrors. The bulk of the increase in funding will now come from council tax increases. The cap imposed on local police and crime commissioners has been relaxed meaning they can now increase the local council tax precept by over five per cent. For Hampshire this could give us almost an extra £10m.
‘The government is responsible for the safety and security of the public, they should ensure that policing is properly and fairly funded but in this case they have not. They have passed the buck to PCCs and asked the public to pay more in council tax for something which should be funded centrally.
‘The cuts made to Hampshire Constabulary are eye-watering. We have had £80m cut from our budget which means we have almost 1,000 fewer officers to deal with an ever-increasing demand.
‘The Chief Constable has announced a £10m cut for 2018 which will see roads policing capability slashed, our public order team disbanded as well as other areas affected. This will not keep our public safer.
‘If the only way we policing across Hampshire can be thrown a financial lifeline is by an increase in the council tax then through gritted teeth I have to support the PCC in increasing this by the maximum of £12 a year. This won’t undo the damage already done but will sustain us going forward.’