Wiltshire

Wiltshire Police Federation: Force 'creaking' under budget cuts

Wiltshire Police Federation advert Image copyright Wiltshire Police Federation
Image caption The federation's Cuts Have Consequences advertising campaign has been placed in local newspapers and on buses in Swindon and Salisbury

A £13,000 advertising campaign claiming Wiltshire Police is so "over-stretched" it is "creaking" under budget cuts, has been launched by the police federation.

The body, which represents 1,000 county officers, has placed adverts on buses and in local papers warning traditional policing could be abandoned.

Wiltshire Police has lost 153 officers since 2010, the federation said.

Chief Constable Mike Veale said he "recognised the impact" of cuts but it remained "committed to local policing".

The federation's Cuts Have Consequences campaign claims the Wiltshire force "already has the lowest number of officers per member of the public" in the UK.

It warns, with the workforce slashed by 16%, there are not enough response officers to "rush to help", communities are being left unsafe at night and drink-drivers are "getting away with offences".

The federation says the force has had to slash £17m from its budget and there are "at least" £10m in cuts "to come".

'Safest county'

Federation chairman Mike White said: "In reality, 80% of our policing budget is down to staff and staff wages. Yes, you can do things better and, yes, you can increase efficiencies but there comes a point when you can't do that any more.

"And officers are telling us that they are finding it increasingly hard to carry on giving the level of service they want to give."

But Mr Veale said he "fully recognises" the impact the budget cuts are having on the force's officers and staff.

"We estimate that we will have to save a further £3m per year over the next three years," he said.

"But Wiltshire is one of the safest counties in the country and I know that the talent and relentless public service commitment from our dedicated workforce will make sure the force responds to the challenges in a high quality and professional way."

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