5 July 2019
In response to the letter in the Times signed by several former police chiefs warning that policing resources have been ‘drained to dangerously low levels’, National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales John Apter said: “While I welcome the move from these former officers and their call for a Royal Commission on Policing, isn’t it a shame that it takes retirement for them to be able to speak out freely.
“Yesterday, in his latest State of Policing Report, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor warned that tough decisions have to be made by Police Chiefs and the Government to safeguard the police service – and ultimately the safety of the public.
“My members experience the reality of what almost a decade of austerity has done to policing day in day out – rising crime rates, increased demand, increased stress and anxiety all with reducing resources.
“Boris Johnson has pledged to recruit 20,000 more officers if he wins the leadership election. If that happens, and he delivers on his promise, then that would certainly help ease the pressure. But his plans would take time to come in to effect and would certainly not be a quick-fix or panacea for the problems my members and our communities are experiencing here and now.
“The police service today faces complex challenges. In order for us to tackle these, and to protect the public, we need a national debate about what society expects from its police service, and how this will be achieved. A Royal Commission is the ideal way to do this.
“I urge all senior officers to have the courage to speak out now about the reality of the challenges they are facing so we can really grasp the scale of the problem and work to find a way to rectify it.”