Sussex police speaks out on cuts

FOLLOWING the riots in the capital and other cities in the country earlier this month, the Sussex Police Federation - which represents officers - has asked MPs to lobby the Home Secretary to stop the implementation of nationwide cuts.

The Federation’s Chairman, Bob Brown, said police numbers were key to policing the recent unrest and violence that spread throughout the country.

He said: “Locally police were put on to 12 hour shifts, some rest days were cancelled and the officers that went up to London worked very long days and were accommodated overnight. And if that request came in a couple of years time, then I’d have doubts that the Chief Constable would be able to provide those numbers to the Met because of the cuts that are planned to police numbers.”

Upon their return to the county, officers from Sussex were immediately required to police Brighton Pride. The Federation says this demonstrates the flexibility of the workforce.

He added: “As a force, we could not possibly have imagined what would happen on the streets of Britain. The abominable scenes of anarchy and carnage across the country were scenes the like of which we hoped we would never see again.

“It has been noticeable that since the riots, public opinion regarding the proposed cuts to the policing budget has changed from ambivalence to concern.

“The riots have unified the police service and the public like never before. Most right minded people realise that you cannot take 20 per cent out of the policing budget without a significant risk to public service and law and order.”

In Sussex, 500 officers could be lost by 2015, and Mr Brown said: “We accept the police service cannot and should not be made a special case of, but a 20 per cent cut is a stretch too far and even the experts at HM Inspectorate of Constabulary have said that 12 per cent cuts - while challenging - would be achievable.”

The Sussex Police Federation has written to all Sussex MPs asking them to lobby over the cut proposals to cut one in six front line officers, 16,000 nationwide, after which there could never be the same level of policing again.