Police cuts safety gamble, MP claims

Michael Dugher
Michael Dugher
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A SOUTH Yorkshire MP has launched a petition calling for the Government to rethink the scale of its cuts to the police service, branding them an ‘irresponsible gamble’.

Michael Dugher, who represents Barnsley East, said he is worried about the long-term consequences of reducing police service budgets by two per cent over the next four years.

South Yorkshire Police is set to lose £41 million in the cuts, which Labour MP Mr Dugher claims will result the loss of almost 15 per cent of the county’s police officers, one third of all police civilian workers and 18 Police Community Support Officers.

Nationally 16,000 police officers face the axe.

Mr Dugher said: “Today I am launching a petition in South Yorkshire calling for a rethink the cuts which are leading to fewer officers on our streets and working to solve serious crimes.

“This Government is taking an irresponsible gamble with policing and public safety in South Yorkshire.

“Next month the Government will ask people for their opinion on the frontloaded policing cuts they are proposing for next year. I want to encourage everyone in South Yorkshire to tell this Government that we need a plan to cut crime, not a plan to cut police officers.”

Police chiefs in South Yorkshire have cut jobs in a bid to reduce the amount they spend on salaries, which account for 80 per cent of the force’s budget.

Every department has been reviewed to look for roles bosses believe can be scrapped.

They also hope to save cash by selling off disused and aging buildings.

The force is also trying to work more efficiently by mapping the movements of all its officers on a computerised system so that incidents are assigned to staff based on those nearest to the crime scenes.

Police chiefs are also losing their company cars to reduce overheads and reception desks have been closed.