Public call for more cops welcomed

31 August 2016

Police officers

The public want a visible, properly resourced police service – and the government must work with us to help provide them with it, says the Police Federation of England and Wales.

A new report, published today by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, looked at the public’s perception of the police service.

Steve White, Chair of the PFEW, said the report was encouraging for members, who would see that over three quarters of people are feeling satisfied with policing in England and Wales.

“All officers work hard to keep their communities safe and protected, and it’s always good to get positive feedback. However, a  76 per cent satisfaction rate doesn’t mean we can sit back and relax.”

He said that what the report does show is that the public truly do value the model of the British Police Service, of policing by consent. Having positive views of the police is essential to this, he said, as it allows the community to feel safe in both dealing with and reporting crimes to the police.

“As evidenced by the survey, one of the crucial ways to impact these feelings of the public is by seeing their local officer on the street. Unfortunately, the results echo what we have been saying for the past few years – that there aren’t enough bobbies on the beat.”

With 20,000 fewer officers, and 17,000 fewer police staff since 2009, it just isn’t possible to have the same visibility on the streets: the toll of budgets cuts is becoming more and more obvious.

“You can’t reduce budgets, reduce staff numbers, and still expect the same results,” Mr White said.

The survey shows that, with the difficulties police forces are facing, they are only just managing to keep the wheel on.

“It is clear that people want a service that is visible, accessible and properly resourced and the Government must recognise this, and start reinvesting in the service to ensure this can happen."

Mr White added that it is also important that police budgets be transparent. Communities have a right to know how their local force is spending tax and ratepayer money, and understand where and why cuts are being made, he said.

“The survey shows that people are not feeling well informed about local policing and we think local PCC’s have a big role to play here in engaging with their communities and making them fully aware of what budget cuts to police funding actually mean.”