'We simply cannot keep doing more with less'

Derbyshire's Police and Crime Commissioner has issued a warning that 'we simply cannot keep doing more with less'.

The Government says it is 'very sensitive' to the pressures police are under.
The Government says it is 'very sensitive' to the pressures police are under.

According to Hardyal Dhindsa, the local population has risen by 25 per cent in the last decade while Derbyshire Constabulary has lost 378 police officers, axed 18 PCSOs and cut around 344 staff vacancies in the past seven years.

Mr Dhindsa said the force had saved £37million during that period and is receiving a £99.33m Government grant this year - down from £116.153m in 2010-11.

However, the Government insists Derbyshire Constabulary is getting almost £2m more funding this year than in the previous 12 months.

Mr Dhindsa said: "In Derbyshire, like other forces, we simply cannot keep doing more with less.

"We have made huge efficiencies, we have introduced new ways of working and invested in technology.

"But without additional funding, then the choices we will face will be extremely hard.

"Do we focus our resources in responding to calls for assistance over and above neighbourhood policing, for example?

"I know how much visible policing in our communities means to people, but we have to be able to respond in emergency situations and investigate serious offences such as murder, rape, knife and gun crimes and modern slavery."

Mr Dhindsa added that if a bid for extra money from the Government was successful there would be additional officers in Derbyshire.

He said: "If, and I accept it is a big if, the bid for funding is successful, in Derbyshire we would be looking at an uplift in numbers of around 16 specialist armed police officers and 70-plus police officers if the money was allocated fairly.

"That still would not replace all the officers that we have lost over the last seven years."

A Home Office spokesman said: "This Government has protected overall police spending in real terms since the 2015 Spending Review.

"Derbyshire Constabulary is receiving £162m in total direct resource funding this year, which is £1.9m compared with 2015-16 while in March 2017 the force had reserves of £32.2m.

"We recognise, however, that demand on the police is changing and we are very sensitive to the pressure they are under.

"That is why we are reviewing demand and resilience as well as police plans for greater efficiency and prudent use of over £1.6billion of financial reserves.

"Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services has said there is considerable scope for further efficiency across the police.

"As part of this process we are speaking to chief constables, Police and Crime Commissioners and frontline officers from across the country."