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Despite all the challenges we are not a service on our knees

18 May 2015

NPCC Chair Sara Thornton responds to comments by Chair of Police Federation Steve White that cuts to policing could fundamentally change the UK policing model.

National Police Chiefs' Council Chair Sara Thornton said:

"Whatever the impact of budget cuts, we would never accept a change to our most basic principle - the Peelian idea that police are the public and the public are the police. We could not have policing in the UK without public consent. Hard measures such as water cannon and tear gas will only ever be used to protect people when all other methods have failed.


 "The loss of 34,000 officers and staff since 2010 has been extremely tough for the service, and even tougher for those people who have lost their jobs. We have to accept we will need to operate with fewer people but we will embrace and make better use of technology to maintain ties with our communities and be as efficient and effective as possible. We will also work more closely with partners in social services, health and the support services to prevent crime and reduce demand on the police service.

 "Despite the challenges, we are by no means a service on our knees. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our officers and staff, a large number of crimes that had blighted our communities for decades, such as violence and burglary, have reduced significantly. There has been a change in demand on the police, with an increase in reports of child abuse, cyber crime and terrorism that require different skills and forms of investigation than crimes deterred by officers on the street.

"This does not mean that the idea of the "neighbourhood bobby" is a thing of the past. The police have always worked with the broader support of the public to gather evidence, increase vigilance and reduce crime. We support community initiatives such as Neighbourhood Watch and will look to increase our 17,000 strong special constable units to ensure that our direct link to the people we serve is not lost."

Notes to editor:

In response to this newspaper article