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Avon & Somerset Police Federation

Federation Chair: Don't Believe The Hype... The Government Have Decimated Policing

4 September 2023

The Chair of Avon and Somerset Police Federation has said the Government is demanding more from police officers while “decimating” forces.

It comes after Home Secretary Suella Braverman demanded officers must investigate every theft and follow all reasonable leads to catch offenders.

Mark Loker, Chair of Avon and Somerset Police Federation, said headline-grabbing moves are just “smoke and mirrors” to deflect from the daily strain officers are facing.

He hit out at a real terms drop in police officers, stating the stark reality in the number of bobbies on the beat is a different picture to that painted by the Police Uplift Programme.

“The crime we should be investigating is a Government intent on robbing Peter to pay Paul and expecting us to buy it,” said Mark.

He continued: “When will this Government actually understand policing?

“Policing is the backbone of society and our amazing members do more and more each and every day with less and less and now we are to investigate every crime.

“Newsflash, that’s what we want to be doing.

“We want to be investigating crime, bringing offenders to justice, protecting our communities and keeping people and their property safe.

“We could do all that and more if we were given the time to do just that and not mop up failings of partner agencies, deficiencies in their staffing numbers and accountability.”

In 2010 there were almost 144,000 full-time equivalent police officers in England and Wales. This dropped to below 130,000 just three years later.

The latest Government figures show there were 142,145 officers in England and Wales in September last year.

It means there were almost 2,000 less officers on the streets than in 2010 while the population grew by about four million.

“The current Conservative Government came to power in 2010 and almost immediately set to task to decimate your police service,” added Mr Loker.

“This is a police service that we all pay for and expect to be there.”

The Federation Chair continued: “Today this Government would have you believe that we have increased officer numbers, up by 24,000 to its record of over 147,000.

“However, importantly the population has also continued to grow in this time but at a slower pace than officer growth.

“That means we are now at a situation where officers per 100,000 of the population stands at 242, degrading to the rate last seen in 2011.”