Job cuts are real reason for holes in thin blue line
There will be readers, especially those routinely working more than 50 hours a week without a sniff of an overtime payment, who will today accuse Hampshire police of crying wolf.
They would sorely like a 40-hour week earning overtime per shift if they worked beyond their hours.
But then they would not be front-line police officers whose split-second decisions can mean the difference between life and death for them and us.
Our story today should worry us all for it is indicative of so many workplaces in austerity Britain – too few staff attempting too much work once done by so many more.
But on this occasion we are talking about one of our emergency services.
We have revealed that the Hampshire force is so stretched that officers this summer are being asked to work 12 hours in one exhausting shift.
The official reason is that Hampshire Constabulary is fighting a four-pronged battle against sickness, demand, major events and ‘additional security’ after the terror attacks on mainland Europe.
It is hardly surprising that this thin blue line is so threadbare that gaping holes are beginning to appear when so many uniformed and civilian jobs have been axed.
Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner, Michael Lane, tells us ‘some people go too quickly to the reduction in numbers that have happened in the last few years’.
Really? What other reason might there be when the number of police officers and staff has been slashed by 1,500 in the past six years?
Take 1,500 people out of any organisation and the cracks will soon become fissures.
We need police officers who are mentally and physically alert at all times, not clapped-out, tired-out wrecks whose psychological state could put the public’s lives at risk as well as theirs.