The public want officers to be paid more, new poll reveals
The public are backing pay rises for police officers and want Government cash diverted back into public services a new national newspaper poll shows.
The results of the Daily Express survey into crime and policing reveal widespread support for a reversal to cuts in police budgets which have seen officer numbers slashed and violent crime increasing.
The vast majority of respondents (81%) agreed that more funding should be given to the police service, while 73% said officers should be paid more.
The survey also revealed the impact of cuts on community policing – 40% of all respondents said they had ‘never’ seen a police officer on patrol on their streets at night.
Nearly 70% told the survey that the police should be prioritising burglary and violent offences over hate crime.
40% said they would be ‘quite likely’ to get involved and help if they saw an officer being assaulted.
The Express said new figures showed that policing levels in England and Wales were at their lowest since 1981, with just 110,000 officers available to tackle terrorism, drug and gang crime and the sharp increase in violent attacks and assaults.
The Metropolitan Police has lost 3,000 officers since austerity measures began and a total force strength of just 26,800 officers could be on the cards if more cuts come, Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, has warned.
Andy Cooke, the chief constable of Merseyside, told the paper that forces are now expected to cope with a heavier burden of crime plus a range of other responsibilities.
“Policing is still the same. It's about keeping people safe, protecting communities, giving communities confidence in law order,” he said.
"That's not changed. But we are so stretched now because not only are we doing trying to catch the criminals, addressing the gangs and the guns, in addition to that we're doing a lot around mental health.
"We're increasingly becoming a more social-service type approach but there are still criminals to catch. It shouldn't be for policing to look after people with significant mental health issues. But we are the first and last resort.
"For me it is common sense, we need more police officers now than we needed in 1981.
“Technology cannot do the job of police officers."