Fears in South Yorkshire that policing could be privatised

Neil Bowles
Neil Bowles

A warning has been issued that there could be so few police officers in South Yorkshire in the future they will only be used to make arrests or inform relatives of tragic deaths.

The Police Federation, which represents ranks and file officers, made the prediction as it launched a campaign to keep bobbies on the streets.

Neil Bowles

Neil Bowles

It is fighting against Government budget cuts, which by 2017 will have left police chiefs having to make savings of £74.5 million since 2007.

Around 600 police officer jobs have been axed and by 2020 the Police Federation fears 1,300 will have been lost.

Chairman Neil Bowles said: “Unless these cuts are stopped the only time you will see a police officer is when they are needed to make an arrest or search a building.

“We fear that all other police services and functions will be privatised, meaning profit making out of criminal justice and that’s just not right.”

Federation Secretary Jim Lucas said: “The only time you will see a police officer is when they walk down your path to notify you of a death of come to arrest you.”

The Federation claims morale among police officers is rock bottom.

Mr Lucas said: “The population of South Yorkshire and its diversity is growing yet the number of officers to police them is reducing.

“There’s only so much we can do before the string snaps.

“Goodwill among officers has gone now, it has been beaten out of them.

“Less police officers means less policing.”

The Federation is urging South Yorkshire residents to lobby local politicians to challenge the funding cuts.

Bobbies fear a rise in crime with fewer officers available to carry out pro-active operations to prevent offences.

Mr Bowles said: “There will be fewer officers than ever before to investigate and detect crime and proactive operations will become a thing of the past. We will simply be a force reacting to incidents.”