THE union representing South Yorkshire police officers fears an increase in crime when Government budget buts begin to take their toll.
Bosses have announced up to 100 police officers and 289 civilian jobs could be axed over the next 12 months. They predict that by 2015 there could be 400 fewer police officers and 700 fewer civilians employed by the force.
The planned cuts are the result of the county’s police budget being slashed by £40 million in the next four years.
Insp Pitt said: “The Police Federation does not hold the Chief Constable or the Police Authority responsible for the budget in any way, shape or form - it is the result of savage cuts imposed by central Government.
“When you get forces like ours where 80 per cent of our budget comes from central government it is massively problematic when cuts on this scale are imposed.
“In good faith over the years we have embraced the government’s modernisation policy and as a result jobs have already gone and yet now we face the prospect of even more.
“It is difficult to see how cuts on this scale cannot have an impact on crime and disorder.
“We feel this is the calm before the storm. We have just been hit with the detail of the numbers to go and there are two reviews being carried out at a national level which could adversely affect police officers too - one looking at pensions and the other at pay and conditions.
“In 2007 police officers fight for the right to strike over less than this - now they are faced with the prospect of doing an increasingly difficult job with fewer staff and potentially for worse pay and conditions than ever before.
“Our members feel a sense of trepidation - they are concerned over whether they will be able to cope with reduced number so officers and staff.
“Officer numbers have already been lost over the years and have been replaced with civilian staff. If these civilians go who is going to do their jobs? Will they be taking frontline officers away from the communities they serve?
“Theses changes do not bode well for a content and motivated workforce.”