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North Yorkshire Police chief’s cuts anger
A POLICE federation chief has slammed fresh government figures which reveal officer numbers in North Yorkshire have hit a nine-year low – saying shortages are putting lives at risk.
Home Office figures released yesterday show over the past year police officer figures have fallen by more than the national average.
There are now 1,402 officers in North Yorkshire with numbers set to plummet to 1,270 over the next few years. This compares with the 1,656 officers on the beat in 2007.
Mark Botham, chairman of North Yorkshire Police Federation which represents rank-and-file officers, said the cuts were equivalent “to not policing Harrogate, Ripon, Catterick or Craven”.
Mr Botham said: “Officer levels like this are not safe, they are not sustainable and put both officers and the public at risk.
“We have seen over the past few weeks that the private sector cannot be relied upon for security and the thin blue line stretches to protect the public. But with reductions in officer numbers like we have seen in North Yorkshire, that will not be sustainable.”
Mr Botham said in North Yorkshire Police Federation’s ongoing police officer survey, evidence is showed sickness and stress were on the up as a result of staff shortages and changing shift patterns.
He said: “Clearly, cuts have consequences, enough is enough.” He said as resources decreased the risk of assaults on officers’ increased.
“Despite accusations that we were scaremongering, the harsh reality of the consequences of a 20 per cent cut to the police budget is now hitting home.
“These figures do nothing to reassure us or the public we serve. The government cannot gamble with public safety. We are on the cusp of hosting the biggest event this country has ever seen and already security risks have been identified and police officers have been required to step in at the 11th hour to put public safety first.
“We will do our duty as police officers always do, but this Government must recognise that their first duty is the safety of the public.”
North Yorkshire Police were unavailable for comment at time of going to press.