Peterborough’s police chief says not all residents will get a “gold-plated service” from the force as he prioritises protecting the most vulnerable people.
Superintendent Tony Ixer is confident the police will deliver an “effective and excellent service” despite acknowledging that front-line officers may be lost due to government cuts.
But he is warning that the force will have to focus resources on helping those most in need before turning its attention to smaller crimes.
A report by the National Audit Office last Thursday stated that police funding was cut by 18 per cent in real terms from 2010-16.
In addition, Home Secretary Theresa May last month told the Police Federation: “There is no ducking the fact that police spending will have to come down again.”
And although Superintendent Ixer did not wish to give an opinion on government policy, he said: “We are really going to need to prioritise those who need our help the most.
“The public need to get used to a different service in the future which is focused on the most vulnerable.
“We will not be able to provide a gold-plated service for everyone.
“But I want the public to be re-assured that, while public services are facing huge cuts, we will not let down people who need us the most.”
Superintendent Ixer believes the force faces a challenge from criminals making better use of technology and a growing list of people reporting sexual offences due to increased confidence in the police to tackle them.
He said: “The fact remains we are going to need to change the way we deliver our service in the future.
“It’s going to be challenging but I’m very optimistic, confident and hopeful.
“We will continue to provide an effective and excellent service for those who need our help.”
With regards to trimming costs, Superintendent Ixer highlighted increased co-operation with forces in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire in areas such as dogs, traffic and fire arms which he said has saved millions of pounds.
He is also proud of how Peterborough police has worked with SaferPeterborough Partnership and Peterborough City Council in a joined-up approach.
And he believes the force is one of the best in the UK for its use of technology to assist officers.
However, Peterborough’s police chief admits that the numbers of bobbies on the front-line might come down due to government cuts, although the drop in central funding has not yet been revealed.
Superintendent Ixer added: “Despite losing money in the last four years we maintained the number of front-line officers. We lost superintendents and chief superintendents.
“We maintained the number of constables but we do not know if we will be able to do that in the future, although we will our try our best.”
A report by the National Audit Office (NAO), which was released last Thursday, stated that the Home Office has “insufficient information” to determine how much further police forces can reduce funding without degrading services.
The NAO report stated that forces had received a real-terms cut of 18 per cent between 2010-11 and 2015-16 when local
council tax receipts that forces receive are included.
The report indicated that forces will face “further significant funding reductions” and that “forces will need to transform the service they deliver if they are to meet the financial challenge and address the changing nature of crime.”
The report added: “Although we have seen examples of innovation and good financial management in some of our visits, overall many of the savings so far could be characterised as tactical or efficiency savings, rather than service transformation.”
The report also stated that crime has gone down since 2010-11 while savings have been made.