People have a right to be concerned about what is happening with Hampshire police at the moment.
This certainly isn’t the first time we’ve heard about plans for the force to share services with others, or make cuts, but that doesn’t make the latest development any less alarming.
How many more times must we hear about the force having to find millions of pounds worth of savings?
Hampshire Police Federation had already warned that further cost-cutting measures would simply amount to a cut too far. Now it has warned that a new financial black hole must be plugged in the near future.
The presence of thousands of police officers marching on the streets of London last month highlights the fact that forces up and down the country are facing tough times.
So while we must try and be pragmatic about the feasibility of service merges that make sense, we must never lose sight of the fact that any organisation can only be cut so far.
How can the chief constable possibly be expected to deliver the police service that we need when potential reductions threaten to hamper the day-to-day running of the force?
Let’s not forget that any cuts made won’t just affect those who work for the police – they also have the very serious potential to affect us all.
Ultimately, the government must be very careful in deciding what it wants to do next.
We all understand that these are uncertain times. But cutting back on public services simply can’t come without a cost. If we are to be guaranteed a police force that can do all we expect of it, we must ensure that it is adequately funded.
Above all, the prime minister must now make his intentions clear.
While Chief Constable Alex Marshall has been able to get to grips with the current Comprehensive Spending Review – ensuring front line officers have been protected – he now needs to know what a fresh review will bring.
We all deserve to know what the future will bring.