Figures released by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary have confirmed that South Yorkshire Police are going to lose 436 police officers (14.7% of the entire Force) by 2015 as a result of the Government’s spending decisions.
On top of this huge cut in police officers, a further 793 police support staff are to be lost, meaning police officers will have to do more admin work. In addition, neighbourhood policing is being hit with the loss of 18 PCSOs – despite promises from the Government that this funding was ring-fenced.
These figures will rightly shock people in our area. No one wants to see fewer police officers on our streets, or fewer police officers working to solve serious crimes.
A number of residents have already contacted me to tell me they are worried about these cuts, especially as neighbourhood policing has been a real success story in the Rother Valley and across the country over recent years.
Many local people value being able to contact named police officers and PCSOs; the work of neighbourhood police teams is increasingly driven by listening to and acting upon the information provided by local residents.
I know our police leaders are completely committed to neighbourhood policing, but these cuts could have a significant impact on police numbers. It is clear to me that in South Yorkshire these cuts cannot be achieved through ‘efficiency savings’ alone. Frontline services will be hit.