Police boss: ‘400 police officers could go - Thames Valley is being short-changed’

Thames Valley Police logo
Thames Valley Police logo

Police chief Anthony Stansfeld has repeated his warning that one in every 10 police officers could lose their jobs in Thames Valley because of government spending cuts.

Mr Stansfeld, the Police And Crime Commissioner who oversees policing across three counties, warned that 400 officers could go as Thames Valley Police faces another round of cut-backs.

PCC Anthony Stansfed

PCC Anthony Stansfed

He told the Citizen that the changes would need to be addressed in the next three years - and argued that Thames Valley is being short-changed for police funding.

Mr Stansfeld said: “Policing is part of the fabric of a civilised country. You can’t continue cutting back.

“You can be more efficient, and you can use technology. You can have a more modern efficient service. But that requires police officers, working on the frontline.

“If these budget cuts are introduced, at the level that’s being forecast, then there will have to be significant reductions in the number of police officers throughout the Thames Valley.”

He added: “Thames Valley Police have more roads and motorways than any other force in the country, yet we are a very thinly-spread force, and our budget is less per head than the majority of other police forces.

“There are only four forces that serve a larger area, yet they all spend vastly more on policing because they get a bigger grant from the government.”

Despite reports in some national newspapers, Mr Stansfeld stressed that no decision was set in stone.

But he did admit that the cuts would affect local policing everywhere in Thames Valley, including Prime Minister David Cameron’s constituency of Witney.

He said: “The only part of the reports I wasn’t happy with was the report that we’d cut 400 officers. Actually, the amount of money we need to save is the equivalent of more than 400 officers - but there are efficiencies we can make to save money.

“We have enough money for next year, but the budget forecast for three years’ time is for further cuts - and at that stage I am concerned, and sincerely hope that the cuts will be toned down.

“We have already saved £60million from our budget, so another £40million is a lot to ask. We are one of the most efficient forces in the country, and so far we have avoided making cuts from frontline policing, with the few officers we have lost going from natural wastage.”

He added: “This would affect all areas - there are no exceptions.”