Frontline officers could lose their jobs because of the severity of budget cuts over the next two years, according to the leaders of police authorities in England and Wales.
A letter sent to Home Office minister Nick Herbert by the cross-party Association of Police Authorities suggests that the government’s approach risks inflicting “longterm damage to policing capability”.
The Home Office has ordered 20% of cuts to police budgets over the next four years, but intends to frontload reductions so that the bulk are imposed in the next two years.
Aabout 6% will be sliced off policing grants next year, 8% in 2012/13 and 4% in each of the following two years.
The police authorities are urging that the heavier burden be shifted to the second half of the period covered by the spending review, between 2013 and 2015.
In the letter, obtained by the Daily Telegraph, the association says it is committed to protecting the public and frontline police services.
But it cautions that: “The ability of authorities and forces to achieve this outcome is seriously impacted by the phasing of the proposed cuts.
“While understanding the imperative to reduce expenditure quickly, a sensible, realistic approach is necessary to realise the savings objectives and avoid longterm damage to policing capability.”