Avon and Somerset Constabulary 'pushed to the limit' by budget cuts leading bosses to call for more Government funding
PUBLISHED: 15:18 28 June 2017 | UPDATED: 15:28 28 June 2017
Cash-strapped Avon and Somerset Constabulary has been 'pushed to the limit' by budget cuts, leading police chiefs to call on the Government for more funding for 'counter terrorism, armed and local policing'.
Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens said it would be an ‘understatement’ to describe it as a ‘testing time’ for the force – with seven years of cuts meaning officers have an ‘unsustainable’ workload.
The PCC, in conjunction with Chief Constable Andy Marsh, has sent a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Policing and Fire Minister Nick Hurd.
Budget cuts have forced Avon and Somerset police to save £60million in savings since 2010, and it must save £20million more by 2022 – but PCC Mounstevens believes more investment is needed.
She said: “Between the multiple terror attacks across the country to ensuring the continued safety of the local communities of Avon and Somerset, like other public services, policing is being pushed to its limit.
“We have written to all our local MPs and the Home Secretary to say that policing needs investment to meet current threats.”
Chief Constable Andy Marsh echoed the commissioner’s sentiments.
He said: “Obviously seven years of cuts has meant that our workforce has reduced.
“I am forced to ask my officers, who are already working hard, to do even more; extending their shifts, adding to their tasks and increasing their workload and this is not sustainable in the long term.”
Britain has suffered four terrorist attacks since March, with vehicle attacks in Westminster, London Bridge and Finsbury Park – plus the Manchester Arena bombing.
Mr Marsh believes more funding should be allocated for counter-terrorism policing.
“We’re asking the government to look at the funding available for counter terrorism, armed and local policing. We need to be strengthening our neighbourhood policing teams, focusing on prevention and working closely with our local residents.
“The attacks in London and Manchester have shown the incredible bravery and the pivotal role our police service plays at the very frontline of our country’s security.”
PCC Mounstevens added: “While the Chief Constable and I continue to do all we can to protect frontline policing, we feel strongly any additional funding for counter-terrorism and armed policing should not come from further reducing budgets for local policing.”