Monday, February 22, 2010


Cuts in Police Budgets Could Mean Poorer Service For Rural Areas

The news that Staffordshire Police must save £30million from its 2011 – 2012 budget hit me like a bolt out of the blue. Given that the Police Authorities total yearly budget is £190million it is hard to believe the forces assurance that this saving can be made without cutting front line services. This is especially true as this latest cut is to be made on top of the £4.7million savings that have already been promised from this April. Even if police bosses make the majority of cuts in behind the scenes support it does not take a genius to realize that these jobs will have to be covered by someone, and that as the majority of staff left will be frontline police officers some of these will have to be deployed to cover the shortfall!

I’m particularly concerned that if frontline officers are reduced the rural areas are bound to suffer most. Already it is rare to see a police office in my neck of the woods, not because they don’t care or can’t be bothered but rather that they are being deployed more and more to tackle crime in the populated urban areas.

As a Borough Councillor I attend Haughton, Church Eaton and Bradley Parish Councils and although an item is included on the agendas for a report from a representative of the local policing team I honestly can’t remember the last time a police officer actually turned up! While I understand crime levels in this area are low it is still important residents are reassured that they are protected and served by the police, and this can only be achieved by a higher level of visibility.

I certainly will be the first to acknowledge that the day’s of the “Village Bobby” are over but I only hope that once the £30million cuts bite the days of the “Area Bobby” are also not assigned to the history books!

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