Unless radical changes are made to the police force after the next election the public may bear the brunt of the spending cuts to public services. Scotland Yard commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe writing in The Guardian gives his sternest warning yet about the potential threats of further cuts. Hogan-Howe writes:
“There’s a bigger risk to public safety if we don’t take radical action. We’ve saved hundreds of millions already, but from 2016 onwards it will be much harder.”
He believes that whoever wins the next election further cuts to the police force are imminent. He suggests the removal of 30 forces throughout the UK merging them into 9 super forces based on regional boundaries. This will reduce the demand for back office staff making the force much leaner.
These proposed changes will enable the police to combat more modern cyber crime as statistics show that criminals are opting for this method as opposed to the more traditional “shotgun” robberies.
Hogan-Howe states that the police force will have to have made £1.4bn worth of cuts by 2020 which is one third of their total budget. To this date the police force has already saved hundreds of millions of pounds according to Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, and Scotland Yard headquarters have already been sold if along with little-used but costly police counters.
Police chiefs across the UK fear that the scale of the cuts to come could decimate neighbourhood policing, vital to the prevention of crime. Privately they fear that policing could step back to a more “1980’s” style and only respond to emergencies.
Hogan-Howe is also of the belief that greater private sector involvement could also help ease the strain on the police force, and the merging of control rooms answering emergency calls could provide significant savings.