Warning over police forces heading towards a 'perfect storm'

Police forces are heading towards a 'perfect storm' caused by staff cuts and new threats, according to a senior officer.

A warning about policing is to be issued today
A warning about policing is to be issued today

Chief Superintendent Gavin Thomas, president of the Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales, said services across the country are based on fewer people working longer hours.

He will urge Policing Minister Nick Hurd MP to review funding and resources at the Association's annual conference today.

Mr Thomas will say: "I suggest we have a perfect storm developing comprised of fewer resources, reduced public services, new threats and a worrying increase in some types of traditional crime.

"If the model for delivering policing services in the future is fewer people working longer, each doing ever more, then I suggest that model is fundamentally flawed.

"Events and the demands on the service have demonstrated a clear case for an open, honest and transparent debate and review with government, local authorities, police and crime commissioners, and of course the public.

"Otherwise we are being driven not by the need to provide the best possible policing service that meets the needs of the public, but primarily by the need to save money."

It comes after a survey of the Association's members found only 27 per cent had enough resources to do their job properly.

Around half had experienced symptoms of anxiety and more than a quarter signs of depression, according to the study.

More than 70 per cent had not taken all their annual leave or rest days in the past year and 94 per cent had worked or been contactable during leave time.

Mr Thomas said: "It is frankly unacceptable that the senior operational leaders in policing are under so much pressure that a quarter of them have signs of depression.

"These are people leading huge commands, some bigger than entire forces.

"These are people carrying responsibility for public safety, protecting the most vulnerable, for countering terrorism, for running firearms operations.

"It is not a healthy position for the service to be in and it definitely is not in the interests of the public."