A public poll exposes the scale of the crisis facing police forces with almost half of the population saying they have never seen a police officer patrolling the beat at night.
The poll, carried out by the Daily Express, shows overwhelming public support to reverse the savage cuts to policing budgets and reveals 81% of the public are more concerned about being a victim of crime than they were five years ago.
In response to the findings, PFEW National Chair, said: “The findings from this poll reflect the reality of the epidemic policing now finds itself in. But what will it take for the government to end this national scandal of allowing policing to deteriorate into a crisis situation?
“How many times do we have to repeat the message before it sinks in? We are saying it, politicians and police leaders are saying it and now the public are too.
“What world do we live in where people are now increasingly fearful for their safety? Cuts to frontline policing has resulted in the closure of many police stations across England and Wales along with reductions of neighbourhood officers. Both things key in providing visible reassurance to communities and acting as a deterrent for violent crime.
“Sadly, seeing a police officer patrolling our streets is becoming a rare sight - 40% of people who answered the survey said they had never seen an officer on a routine patrol in their neighbourhood at night time.
“If the government continue to sit back and do nothing there will be dire consequences and I do not want to find myself in the position of saying ‘we told you so’."
The poll also revealed that 73% of the public agree that the government should increase the wages of frontline police officers.
John Apter continued: “Our hardworking officers are at breaking point working all the hours around the clock to keep the public safe – but they are burning out and getting paid very little for the privilege. Many are struggling to provide for their families and are resulting to food banks to feed their children. This is no way to treat out serving men and women who put their lives on the line to keep us safe.
“We have fought for years for officers to be fairly paid for the extremely dangerous and demanding jobs they do. And after years of being ignored we have found ourselves with no other option than to take legal action against our own government. A government who refuse to acknowledge the recommendations of their own Police Pay Remuneration Body. How has it come to this?”
Last month the appalling way police funding has been handled by the Government came under the spotlight yet again when the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) published their report.
The report concluded that public confidence has been ‘severely dented’ as police forces have to reprioritise work in response to funding cuts. And it accuses the Government of having a ‘depressing, poor understanding’ about the impact of its funding regime.
The PAC echoed what we at the Police Federation have been saying for years; namely that police funding has been slashed by nearly 20% since 2010 with a consequent loss of nearly 22,000 officers nationally.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, those with the powers need to take urgent action and show that they value the public’s safety by throwing police a lifeline before it’s too late.
“I want to thank the public for their support for policing. We share the public’s concerns and pleased they have spoken out in support of their police officers. I just hope they are not accused of scaremongering by this Prime Minister as we have been when we dare raise our concerns!” John concluded.