Police cuts warning

Blackpool Police Station and (below) Assistant Chief Constable Tim Jacques.
Blackpool Police Station and (below) Assistant Chief Constable Tim Jacques.
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POLICE officers believe frontline cuts are killing the service.

The news comes after a Freedom of Information request revealed officers and staff have raised a raft of concerns about life in the force, with hundreds saying morale is low, more front line officers are needed and senior officers are “out of touch” with what is happening.

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Jacques

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Jacques

The findings of Lancashire Police’s staff surveys, conducted every two years, show what officers and staff think of the force.

The force released details of the 2007, 2009 and 2011 surveys.

In both the earlier documents, it was revealed officers thought more police were needed on the front line and raised that as a “key issue”. The most recent survey, conducted in September last year showed:

> More than a third of officers and staff do not have high morale.

> Almost half, 47 per cent, feel management do not listen to them.

> Around 35 per cent think the way the force is organised makes its difficult to provide a good service.

> More than half, 55 per cent, think senior management are out of touch with what is happening on the front line.

The 2011 survey saw more than 4,000 officers and staff take part – a response rate of 62 per cent.

Assistant Chief Con Tim Jacques, of Lancashire Police, said: “I would not say we sit there and think everything is rosy in the garden. We recognised this survey was likely to come up with some concerns because of the timing of it.

“The chief constable was absolutely committed to still doing it.

“I think in the main we were very happy with the positives and there were a lot of positives.”

Another senior Lancashire Police officer said the surveys painted a mostly positive picture, especially given the context of huge public sector cuts.

Rachel Baines, chairman of Lancashire Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, added: “It’s not just internal factors, it is external factors as well like the recession and pay freezes – there is a lot of things out of the constabulary’s control which have an effect.

“Twenty per cent cut backs are too much. That is going to affect numbers and leave people left on the front line with more to do with less resources.”

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