Northumbria police forced to make ‘unprecedented cuts’

15 Oct 18

A police chief has blamed real terms funding cuts from central government for having to make “unprecedented” cuts in his force’s officer and staff numbers.

Winton Keenen, chief constable of Northumbria Police, said that falls in funding had caused 1,000 job losses in his local force since 2010.

The force now has the lowest level of reserves it has ever had – and the lowest of any other force in the UK, Keenen said in an open letter. 

“We have looked to mitigate the effect of such far-reaching cuts by making savings where we can and utilising financial reserves to lessen the impact on front-line policing services.

“However, our financial reserves are now not only at the lowest they have ever been, they are the lowest of any force in the UK,” he said.

Keenen said that since 2010-11 Northumbria Police has had to make efficiency savings of more than £142m because of a 30% real terms reduction of funding from government over the same period.

“As a direct consequence of the significant budget reductions [we continue to experience we] have seen unprecedented reductions in our officers and staff numbers,” he wrote.

Keenen noted that the recent sale of Northumbria Police’s old headquarters was a short-term solution and said: “The money we raise from property sales is a one-off measure which is all-too quickly exhausted and can never match the increasing financial shortfall.”

The constable added that these cuts have come against a backdrop of rising demands due to emerging crime trends like terrorism, cyber-crime and modern-day slavery.

In September, head of the Metropolitan police Cressida Dick said she was “extremely disappointed” by the government’s failure to fund a 3% pay rise for police.

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