Sussex Police cuts 'put public at risk'

Sussex Police Federation poster Image copyright Sussex Police Federation
Image caption Sussex Police said it would not be responding to "every small thing"

Public safety is being put at risk by cuts to Sussex Police's budget, the county's police federation has warned.

The Sussex Police Federation said more than 500 frontline officers were due to be lost in the next four years.

The federation which represents police officers said the public would "rarely see a bobby on the beat".

Sussex Police say the changes will be "significant", but it is confident services will be provided "where they are most needed".

A Sussex Police Federation spokesman said: "Officer numbers are falling, Crime is up and public safety is being put at risk thanks to budget cuts."

Matt Webb, chairman of federation, said: "We need police officers on the ground to patrol in our communities and to keep people safe.

"We need them to fight online crime, child sexual exploitation and extremism.

"The force has shrunk by 11% over the same period that the population of Sussex has grown by 10%," Mr Webb said.

Launching a federation publicity campaign, Mr Webb said the cuts would be felt mainly in neighbourhood teams.

Police 'not responding'

Det Ch Con Olivia Pinkney said: "The changes to the force will be significant but I am confident that new and effective ways of working will provide services where they are most needed.

"Matt Webb is right, we will be a smaller force but we will be working efficiently by embracing technology and multi-agency working, reducing costs and engaging with the public in the best way we can."

She said public safety was the force's "absolute priority".

"We need officers to fight online crime, child sexual exploitation and extremism but that isn't by putting them on the beat.

"Our new model sees us working differently and more efficiently, and not responding to every small thing that comes to our door."

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