400 police officers could be cut from Thames Valley Police, according to local crime chief Anthony Stansfeld.
Mr Stansfeld, the Conservative police and crime commissioner for Thames Valley, is reported to have blamed the government’s “extraordinary” budget cuts for the situation.
Contrary to national newspaper reports, the Conservative stressed that no definite decision had been made.
But Mr Stansfeld has been widely quoted as saying that budget cuts could mean that one in every 10 police officers in the Thames Valley has to go.
Mr Stansfeld said: “Each £1 million we have to lose equates to around 20 police officers.
“That means we are on course to lose 400 police officers out of the 4,000 currently in the force.
“There will be across-the-board cuts on most, if not all, types of policing.” Mr Stansfeld said the prospect of losing so many officers meant it might not be possible to ‘keep a lid on’ crime in larger towns in his area, including Slough and Reading.
“It’s extraordinary that the Home Office thinks we can just keep on cutting. I think it has gone too far.”
He added: “In towns such as Reading and Slough, which have some highly transient populations, we’ve made great progress in cutting crime.
“We’ve also invested to combat crimes such as child sexual exploitation. And I’m concerned that such investments will be endangered by the cuts.
“We will see the very considerable decreases in crime which we have been able to make begin to reverse.”
Andrew Pakes, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Milton Keynes South echoed these sentiments.
He said: “There is nothing more important than keeping the public safe. The scale of the cut in police officers now being discussed is breathtaking. The reality is the governments agenda could lead to 400 police officers losing their jobs and police stations being shut across the region.
“Ministers can no longer duck the facts about the damaging impact of their cuts on front line policing. Instead of cutting police numbers we should be investing to keep uniformed officers on beat cutting crime and keeping our streets safe.”