‘Officers under intolerable pressure’


PUBLISHED 18 Aug 2021

IN News

Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom says officers are being placed under intolerable pressure by a lack of investment in policing.

Liz says there are 10,000 fewer officers in the service as well as fewer police staff compared to 10 years ago but that the demands on policing have risen, particularly during the pandemic.

Speaking about policing under pressure in the light of recent events, Liz has called for new investment to help the service meet the demands it faces.

Liz said: “As a service, we have more than 10,000 fewer officers than a decade ago and fewer police staff, who play a vital role in supporting officers and serving the public, as well.

“We’ve been on the frontline of the global pandemic doing everything possible to keep the public safe while continuing to do our other police work.

“We’re still expected to be proactive in our policing, to react to events, and to support other agencies in their work. The pressure is intolerable.

“The Government has committed to increasing our numbers but it’s not enough. We need proper investment in recruitment to take our numbers back to where they were a decade ago and in pay and conditions to retain our officers.”

Her comments echo those of John Apter, the Federation’s national chair, who has also been reacting to recent events.

John said: “It seems that no matter what happens within society, the finger of blame always leads itself towards policing, before the facts are known.

“The harsh reality is, despite the almost daily information being put out by Government and other agencies about the increase of police officer numbers, that we are still nowhere near where we need to be to react to everything the way the public would expect and the way that we should be able to. This is an inconvenient truth for some.”

He added: “Low numbers and a global pandemic mean that there is more pressure. Pressure on frontline officers, response policing, detectives and pressure on back office functions including departments like firearms licensing.

“The pressure is intolerable and leads to delays that are unavoidable despite our best efforts. This is the reality that policing is facing, while at the same time being held accountable for matters that sit firmly with other agencies.

“Policing is often the service of last resort and we can’t always say no, we can’t close our doors at 5pm on a Friday afternoon.”

John said that unless the Government increased officer and staff numbers beyond what it had currently set out, the service would be continually chasing its tail, and never able to be fully proactive in dealing with the pressures it faced.

He concluded: “The lack of genuine investment in policing is putting the public at risk and that is something that no society should ever accept. My colleagues, officers and staff, are committed to doing everything that we can to keep the public safe, but we need the help to do this.”