Just over one week ago in the north east of England, it was announced that Cleveland Police, like other forces around the country, would reduce the number of its officers in an effort to meet a cut in government funding.
Cleveland Police Authority said that to meet its 20% funding cut the force’s officer establishment would reduce from 1,727 to 1,572 over the next 12 months with another reduction of 75 to follow the year after. The number of PCSOs would also reduce from 197 to 182.
The reported measures to meet the cut in funding, chosen by Cleveland’s policing authority, include savings on overtime, Bank Holiday staffing, reduction in staff posts in the police executive and authority and reduced expenditure on uniforms. But news arriving at Mind Towers concerns a cost saving measure that has not been shared with the public and is likely to cause anger in the county.
For word reaches us that the Chief Constable has instructed rank and file police officers in Cleveland to cease night time patrolling in police cars. We are told the instruction to officers on night shift is to stay in the station or find somewhere outdoors to park up and spend their time doing paperwork, and that Officers have been told to only respond to major emergency calls. The reason? To reduce police vehicle fuel costs.
Our source tells us the mood among Officers is one of incredulity given that night is the prime opportunity for the commission of crimes and removing the deterrent of night time police patrols will result in more crimes being committed and more money, time and effort being spent on detection. Response times are expected to suffer, particularly in rural areas.
It seems that Durham Constabulary have also issued similar instructions. FOI requests have been placed with both forces accordingly. The question is whether this is a nationwide instruction by Chief Police Officers who are putting costs before policing. Perhaps it would be appropriate for Cleveland to change their motto to ‘Putting Costs First’.