Police Fed warns 'bobbies on the beat' under threat

Body representing rank and file officers sounds alarm bells on Home Office budget

By Dods Group

20 May 2015

The "bobby on the beat" is under threat because of cuts to the Home Office budget, the Police Federation is warning.

The Federation – which represents officers in England and Wales – says forces are often unable to build up links with their local community because they only have time to respond to emergencies or make pre-arranged visits to investigate crimes.

In his address to the Federation's conference later today, chairman Steve White will say neighbourhood policing is "just one of the endangered species in the new streamlined barren policing landscape".

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"Policing is about building relationships, not statistics – not computer says no, not Chancellor says no," he will add.

A survey carried out for the organisation found that 33 of 43 police forces had either cut their neighbourhood teams or merged them with other departments since 2010.

The body says just eight forces across England and Wales have no plans to alter their neighbourhood policing arrangements in response to budget cuts.

Meanwhile, home secretary Theresa May will use her address to the same conference to announce that police will be banned from detaining children with mental health issues in cells.

The law will be part of a £15m raft of measures to provide health-based alternatives for the 4,000 people a year detained in cells under the Mental Health Act, and will feature in the the policing and sentencing bill due to be unveiled in next week's Queen's speech.

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