Frontline police have warned the service is “at breaking point” in Lancashire due to £80m. of cuts.
Officers have triggered an unprecedented 999 alarm about the state of the county’s force which has seen 700 job cuts in the past five years.
They say neighbourhood policing is on the verge of being abandoned, some offences like burglary and theft are now being dealt with over the phone and the sight of a bobby on the beat has become a rare event.
“These cuts are putting public safety at risk,” warned Rachel Baines, chairman of the county’s Police Federation, at the launch of a national campaign called Cuts Have Consequences.
“We want to remain one of the country’s top performing police forces, serving people and keeping them safe, but we need boots on the ground to do this.”
The Federation, which represents rank and file officers, is urging the public to lobby politicians of all parties about the state of the police service in the UK, with the election just two months away.
The force is dangerously near to the point where it will have to abandon neighbourhood policing. We have to speak up.Rachel Baines, chairman of Lancashire Police Federation
“The force is at breaking point,” said Rachel. “We have very real concerns these continued cuts will leave the people of Lancashire with a response-only police service. Crime prevention, intelligence gathering and safeguarding will become things of the past.
“Do we really want a police service in this county where the only time the public sees a police officer is when they are arresting them? The force is dangerously near to the point where it will have to abandon neighbourhood policing. We have to speak up.”
However, police and crime commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “While I have a lot of sympathy with the Fed’s position, I can’t agree that the force is at breaking point and the public are not being kept safe.”