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News Release: Cuts have consequences, police leaders warn MPs

  • Posted On 6 Sep 2017

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    Cuts, MP, consequences


    A hard-hitting video showing the effects of funding cuts on policing in the West Midlands has been sent to all the region’s MPs as part of a Police Federation initiative.

     

    West Midlands Police Federation, which represents the constables, sergeants and inspecting ranks who make up the majority of the Force’s 6,600 officers, teamed up with Birmingham based video marketing and production company Tinker Taylor to produce the innovative video book for the second wave of its Cuts Have Consequences campaign and is urging MPs to do more to encourage the Government to re-invest in policing.

     

    The video highlights some of the effects of the cuts – a drastic reduction in police officer numbers and a rise in crime - and features footage of closed police stations, closing custody suites and a bustling Birmingham city centre with no police in sight.

     

    “Since 2010, West Midlands Police has lost more than 2,000 officers – taking its numbers down to the lowest level since 1974 when it was first established. However, there has been no corresponding decrease in demand; in fact, the opposite is true. The Force is trying to tackle traditional crimes while also rising to the challenge of new and emerging offences including cyber-crime and an ever-increasing terrorism threat,” says Steve Grange, the Federation secretary.

     

    “In all honesty, it is struggling to do so and since it has been hit harder than any other force with £130 million cut from its budget – the highest proportion in the country – this should come as no surprise. Neither should it be a shock that we have seen an increase in crime and an inability to respond to all calls to our 101 non-emergency number.

     

    “Due to funding issues, there is now only one police station in the West Midlands Force area that is open 24/7 – just one. Our officers are also feeling the strain; their morale is low. The number of officers off sick is at historic high levels with a third of the current sickness stress-related, with mental health issues being reported at a growing and alarming rate.

     

    “As a snapshot of how serious this situation is, on one day this summer, a check of the Force sickness system revealed that a total of 612 officers and staff were booked off sick with 176 suffering mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue and stress.”

     

    The Federation believes the two-minute film gives an insight into the issues officers are facing, showing the stark realities of policing in the West Midlands and explaining how communities are suffering.

     

    It is the second video of this kind that it has produced. The first, also on the theme of Cuts Have Consequences, was launched in 2015 and again featured the impact of police budget cuts.

     

    The latest video, launched alongside a Facebook advertising campaign, aims to show the continued effect of these cuts and the consequences for public and officer safety.

     

    It follows the national Police Federation’s ongoing Protect The Protectors campaign highlighting the growing number of assaults on police officers and other emergency service workers and calling for harsher sentencing for those who carry out these assaults and better protective equipment, including spit and bite guards, for officers.

     

    Steve adds: “While police officers have a civic and moral duty to protect their communities, the first responsibility of any Government is to protect its citizens. We believe the time has come for MPs to speak up for the police service and would urge them to do so. It is essential that we have an efficient and effective police service, particularly in light of recent terrorist atrocities and the wider policing landscape.

     

    “The Government needs to properly fund policing, fully value the police service and recognise the unique role police officers play in society. It is time for MPs to act.”

     

    The Federation is hoping to meet with local MPs to discuss its concerns.

     

    Steve Grange JBB Secretary

    West Midlands Police Federation

    West Midlands Police Federation | Cuts Have Consequences 2017 from TINKER TAYLOR on Vimeo.

     

     
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