OUR police officers have warned that crime will rise in Lincolnshire when government cuts force the loss of 130 jobs.
The chairman of Lincolnshire Police Federation, Stuart Hamilton, branded cutbacks as “criminal” and says residents and businesses will undoubtedly get a poorer service.
Mr Hamilton has called on everyone in Lincolnshire to lobby politicians to reverse the cuts.
About 300 of the county’s 1,200 officers answered questions in a Police Federation survey.
The chilling results show that 88 per cent of officers have said crime will go up when jobs are slashed.
Almost all – 99 per cent – said force morale has dropped because of planned budget cuts, the prospect of job losses and changes to officers’ terms and conditions.
Government cuts mean Lincolnshire Police must save £20million by 2014-15.
Last month assistant chief constable Keith Smy revealed some of Lincolnshire’s smaller police stations could face the axe as police are forced to look at “least worst options” to save cash.
ACC Smy said: “If you take £20m out of a budget of £120m you have got to look at everything to do with the delivery of services.”
Deeping St James Parish Council chairman Phil Dilks, a former police authority member, said: “Cut the number of police and it’s great news for criminals. Crime is certain to go up.”
He said the police nationally are receiving the most savage cut of all public services – around 20 per cent – and 12,000 officers will be lost nationwide.
Mr Dilks said Lincolnshire Police has not been as well funded as other forces in the country and the cuts will hit it even harder.
Mr Dilks said he fully backs Lincolnshire Police Federation’s call to the public to lobby politicians to stop the cuts.
Mr Hamilton said: “The message from police officers in Lincolnshire is loud and clear.
“They feel they are being hit from all sides by this government who, in addition to attacking their terms and conditions, are imposing a 20 per cent cut on the service which will undoubtedly lead to increased levels of crime and a poorer service for the public in Lincolnshire.
“The federation is not opposed to change and accepts that policing must play its part in public sector cuts.
“However, if this government truly believes in considered and informed change for the better then they should have the courage of their convictions and establish a Royal Commission on policing.
“Cuts of this magnitude are criminal and, despite the very best efforts of rank and file police officers, will undoubtedly lead to a poorer service for the residents and businesses in Lincolnshire.”
The 130 jobs are due to be axed over the next four years.
A spokesman for Lincolnshire Police referred the Spalding Guardian to a letter from Deputy Chief Constable Neil Rhodes, published earlier this month, which addresses the county’s preparation for the cuts to come.
Mr Rhodes said: “We have worked really hard to ensure the front line has seen the lowest reduction in staff.
“Similarly, by managing shift duties and annual leave across the county, instead of in pockets, we believe we can deliver a better service, despite having fewer officers.”
He said the force has taken out a layer of management and will try to free response officers from paperwork.