Cuts mean confidence in police is ‘slowly eroding’

CONFIDENCE in policing remains high in Northumbria, but it is ‘slowly eroding’ due to funding cuts, Federation Chairman Jim Gray has said.

He was speaking after the Commons Public Accounts Committee said that nationally public confidence in the police has been ‘severely dented’.

Jim said: “Public confidence in the service delivered by the police service is slowly eroding.

“Once people realise that police officers won’t be attending incidents, won’t be attending or investigating as many crimes, that they won’t be seen as much as they were because our focus is evermore on the reactive, fire brigade approach to dealing with crime, confidence levels will undoubtedly continue to fall.

“I think in terms of their confidence in individual police officers – that remains high in my experience. I think the decent members of the public that we serve still have respect for our police officers.”

The Government must turn things around by addressing the ‘catastrophic attack’ on police funding, he added.

He said: “Austerity continues for the police service and Northumbria Police has been hit harder than any other police force in the country due it having the lowest precept and its allied reliance upon central funding.

“When you add on to that that the Government has decided that local police forces will start to foot the bill for part of police pensions, it’s absolute nonsense.

“The Government has got to step up and arrest this continual lack of funding and resourcing for the police service. The effect is ultimately for the public to bear.

“Police officer workload is sky high and the stress levels on them is sky high. They’re already doing an extremely dangerous, often thankless job, surrounded by hindsight heroes, but they are not being backed up by the Government.

“That covenant that we all thought existed between Government and police officers has clearly gone by the wayside. Government support for police forces appears to be at an all-time low.

“We simply cannot deliver the service which we want to deliver to our communities because of the continual attack on our officers and our resources.”