Hampshire’s chief constable Andy Marsh has warned local residents about upcoming funding cuts that could see the number of police officers, including key front line officers, reduced to a ‘dangerous’ level.
Significant cuts to the police force would mean vital services will also be cut.
In November Hampshire Constabulary will learn how much the budget is being cut by, and has been warned it could be up to 40%, or £65million. This would mean the loss of between 800 and 1,200 police officers.
Since 2010, £80million cuts has meant the loss of 1,500 police jobs, police stations closing and buildings sold off. If the cuts are as much as 40%, by 2020 over half of the original police workforce could be gone.
Hampshire police is one of the largest forces in England and Wales but is currently the sixth cheapest.
The chief constable is urging the people of Hampshire to be engaged with the police express their views and opinions about the cuts before they take place.
He told the Daily Echo;
We will definitely have to stop doing some of the things we currently do – absolutely and definitely. There is no doubt that we will have to take that course and I think the public will, and should, be concerned by that. I want to talk to people about what they are prepared for us to stop doing.
Cash saving initiatives such as specialists units merging with Thames Valley and back office functions being shared with the county council and Fire Service have already been done, and headquarters are likely to move to the Fire Service in Eastleigh to save money.