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A survey shows that police officers in Dorset believe the government cut of 20% of the police budget over the next four years and a reduction in police officer numbers will have a detrimental effect on crime levels and result in the public getting a poorer service.
Police officers from Dorset who responded to the online survey, a phenomenal 99% said that morale has fallen following to planned police budget cuts, the possibility of a reduction in police officer numbers, possible changes to their terms and conditions, and how this will all impact upon the service they are able to give to the public.
An incredible 88% of police officers believe cutting police officer numbers in Dorset will have a detrimental effect on crime levels. As a result of the reduction in police officer numbers 75% believe their workload has already increased or will increase in the future and an astonishing 90% believe there will be a decline in service delivery in Dorset due to planned budget cuts.
This stands in stark contrast to the views expressed by the government that cuts to policing are achievable without crime rising or affecting service delivery to the public.
The 20 percent budget cut to policing was announced by the government at the same time that changes to pensions were announced by Lord Hutton and the Winsor Review of police pay and conditions was published.
If implemented, the Winsor Report recommendations will see the vast majority of police officers take a real time pay cut on top of increased workloads. Some could be up to £4,000 worse off and this takes no account of inflation and other external factors that may see costs rise in the coming months.
92% of police officers in Dorset believe changes to their terms and conditions will have such a detrimental effect that some police officers will be compelled to leave the service owing to financial difficulties.
Clive Chamberlain, Chair of Dorset Police Federation warns;
"The message from police officers in Dorset is loud and clear. They feel they are being hit from all sides by this government who, in addition to attacking their terms and conditions, are imposing a 20 percent cut on the service which will undoubtedly lead to increased levels of crime and a poorer service for the public in Dorset.
"The Federation is not opposed to change and accept that policing must play its part in public sector cuts. However, if this government truly believes in considered and informed change for the better then they should have the courage of their convictions and establish a Royal Commission on policing. Cuts of this magnitude are criminal and, despite the very best efforts of ranks and file police officers, will undoubtedly lead to a poorer service for the residents and businesses in Dorset. That is why it is imperative that those who live and work in Dorset make clear to our local politicians that a cut of this magnitude to the police budget needs to be urgently reconsidered by national government before it is too late and we all suffer the unintended consequences of their actions."