Police face staffing level deficit due to budget cuts

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ONE fifth of officers at Wigan’s police division could face losing their jobs if expected cuts to force budgets are pushed through, a borough MP has warned.

This week shadow home secretary Andy Burnham will launch a Labour campaign against the “eye-watering” cuts set to be imposed next month by his government counterpart Theresa May.

Mr Burnham told the Evening Post that Greater Manchester Police as a whole could be forced to cut more than 1,300 officers, close to one in five current staff, having already lost around 1,450 officers between 2010 and 2015.

The campaign will be unveiled in the same week that seven police chiefs from around the country announced they are considering legal action against the home office over the cuts.

Leigh MP Mr Burnham has said proposed savings targets imposed on forces would place “public safety at risk”, echoing claims last week by GM police and crime commissioner Tony Lloyd who said GMP faced returning to “1970s staffing levels.”

Mr Burnham told the Evening Post: “The police services are looking at eye-watering cuts. It would mean the end of neighbourhood policing and PCSOs. We have crimes not being invetigated and victims going unsupported. The police service is the last safety net and we will tell the Home Secretary that, at the time of rising crime, it is not the time to cut the police.”

Recent crime figures for the borough show a 22.9 per cent increase a trend reflected across the region.

This week six police and crime commissioners, including Lancashire and Merseyside, and the deputy mayor of London have been joined to urge the Government to delay a decision on force budgets expected in this month’s spending review.

The group said changes to the police funding formula would result in cuts that are “unfair, unjustified and deeply flawed”.

GM commissioner Mr Lloyd is not part of this group threatening legal action but has already hit out at the Home Office about the cuts. He said last month in response to rising crime figures in Wigna and across the region: “Nobody wants to be alarmist but it is becoming more difficult to deliver the best service especially if the numbers continue to drop. David Cameron has to understand that police in GM are going to be put at risk and that’s simply not the right decision.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said forces still have scope to make savings without affecting frontline services.