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Hertfordshire Police Federation

‘Public could be put at risk due to lack of investment in policing’

18 August 2021

Hertfordshire Police Federation chair Geoff Bardell says the public could be put at risk by a lack of investment in policing.

Geoff says that low numbers of policing and increased demands such as the Covid-19 pandemic mean that officers are under pressure like never before.

And he’s called for increased investment in recruitment and retention of officers and support staff to help meet those demands.

Responding to recent events, Geoff said: “We have 10,000 fewer officers than we did a decade ago. We also have fewer staff, who do a fantastic job in supporting frontline officers.

“At the same time, our population has grown and the demands on policing have increased, not least with the global pandemic of the last 18 months.

“It’s placing huge pressure on officers, who may not always be able to react how the public want us to and could put people at risk.

“We need long-term sustained investment in recruiting and retaining police officers and staff to return the service to where it was 10 years ago – and to improve it for the benefit of the communities we serve.”

Geoff’s comments echo those of John Apter, the Federation’s national chair, who has also been reacting to recent events.

John said: “It seems that no matter what happens within society, the finger of blame always leads itself towards policing, before the facts are known.

“The harsh reality is, despite the almost daily information being put out by Government and other agencies about the increase of police officer numbers, that we are still nowhere near where we need to be to react to everything the way the public would expect and the way that we should be able to. This is an inconvenient truth for some.”

He added: “Low numbers and a global pandemic mean that there is more pressure. Pressure on frontline officers, response policing, detectives and pressure on back office functions including departments like firearms licensing.

“The pressure is intolerable and leads to delays that are unavoidable despite our best efforts. This is the reality that policing is facing, while at the same time being held accountable for matters that sit firmly with other agencies.

“Policing is often the service of last resort and we can’t always say no, we can’t close our doors at 5pm on a Friday afternoon. 

“We need to increase our numbers, officers and staff, above what is promised by the Government or we will continuously be chasing our tail, never being able to be fully proactive in dealing with the pressures we face.

“The lack of genuine investment in policing is putting the public at risk and that is something that no society should ever accept. My colleagues, officers and staff, are committed to doing everything that we can to keep the public safe, but we need the help to do this.”


September 2022