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Devon & Cornwall Police Federation

The notion that public services are to face more years of austerity due to budget cuts sends a shudder down my spine

6 October 2022

“The notion that public services are to face more years of austerity due to budget cuts sends a shudder down my spine.” 

That was the reaction of Devon and Cornwall Police Federation Chair Andy Berry to chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s announcement of further cuts of up to £18billion for public services.

Andy continued: “Policing is not out of the woods, despite the headline increase in officer numbers. The reality check is that the Government money was only for officers, not police staff, buildings or kit, and so together with ever-increasing demands, policing in Devon and Cornwall still feels exceedingly busy. 

“The double whammy for policing is that cuts to other services such as ambulances, mental health and social services create additional non-policing demand for us. If a mentally ill person can’t get hold of mental health professionals at 9pm on a Friday evening, then very often the next call for help is to the police, or we end up trying to coax that person from a bridge ledge.

“If an ambulance doesn’t turn up then it’ll be the police taking people to hospital. Cuts still have consequences, and those consequences fall heavily on the police service when other public services struggle. So if the Government wants a bobby at every burglary (and so they should), then they need to think carefully about where they wield their financial cuts.”