Public 'worse off' since cuts, Essex Police Federation survey finds

Police in Essex
Image caption The Police Federation said it carried out a survey of more than 1,000 officers in Essex

Essex's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has acknowledged officers are under "considerable pressure" following a Police Federation survey of members.

The survey showed 94% of officers felt the public was getting a worse service since £70m of cuts began in 2010.

The federation said it was concerned about public safety following the loss of 410 officers.

Nick Alston, PCC, said he did not believe effective policing meant more "bobbies on the beat".

Essex Police, which has an annual budget of £265m for 2014-15, has made cuts of £50m since 2010, with a further £20m to be found.

The number of officers has fallen from 3,636 in 2010 to 3,096 in 2015.

Image copyright Essex Police Federation
Image caption Mark Smith said 94% of officers surveyed felt the public was getting a worse police service than in 2010

Mark Smith, chairman of the Essex Police Federation, said: "We're just saying that cuts have consequences - frontline policing is being affected and the public is put more at risk, because there just aren't the same number of officers on the ground.

"You will be told by some senior officers and politicians that cuts don't affect frontline policing but that's just not the experience of our frontline officers."

Mr Alston, elected PCC on a Conservative ticket, said he did not believe local policing was being "eroded".

"I agree police officers are under considerable pressure," he said.

"In Essex, there are four times as many domestic violence incidents as there are burglaries and most domestic abuse takes place not in the street but in the family home.

"'Bobbies on the beat' will not address this and other hidden harms."

Mike Penning, policing minister, said: "The police are making their contribution to reducing the deficit and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary recently found that forces are successfully meeting the challenge of balancing their books while protecting the frontline and delivering reductions in crime."

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