The Chancellor’s announcement today that there will be no further cuts to police budgets during this Parliament has been welcomed by Jim Mallen, chairman of Bedfordshire Police Federation.

In his autumn statement outlining the Comprehensive Spending Review, George Osborne acknowledged the role of the police in protecting the public and said the Government would protect the police.

“This is really good news for the police service and also for the communities we serve,” Jim says, “While as a Federation we have campaigned against more cuts, I would like to acknowledge the sustained efforts of our PCC Olly Martins and Chief Constable Jon Boutcher who have been very vocal in fighting to prevent a further reduction in Force budgets.

“There had been speculation that the police service could face further cuts of up to 40 per cent so today’s announcement came as a surprise; but, for a change, it was a nice surprise.”

In his speech to the House of Commons, Mr Osborne said there needed to be investment in new state-of-the-art mobile communications for the emergency services, and new technology at our borders. He also said the counter-terrorism budget should be increased by 30 per cent.

The police service, he explained, should make further savings by merging back offices and sharing expertise and a new fund would be set up to help with this reform. Police and Crime Commissioners, said Mr Osborne, should have greater flexibility in raising local precepts in areas where they have been historically low.

“I’ve had representations police budgets should be cut by up to 10 per cent. But now is not the time for further police cuts. Now is the time to back our police and give them the tools do the job. I am today announcing there will be no cuts in the police budget at all,” he explained.

“There will be real terms protection for police funding. The police protect us, and we’re going to protect the police.”

Steve White, national chairman of the Police Federation, said it appeared commonsense had prevailed.

“Communities around the country will be breathing a sigh of relief that things are not going to get drastically worse as had been threatened. However, we will need to look closely at the detail to see what it will actually mean for forces. Clearly, the Government has recognised the value that our members bring to the communities they serve,” said Steve.

“To have cut the police further at this time would have been utter madness. I have my doubts that this would have ever happened had we at the Police Federation not been the only police organisation prepared to consistently raise the dangers and threats.

“This is clearly good news but it doesn’t mean that the problems we have been highlighting in recent years have miraculously vanished overnight.

“Officers are still hugely under pressure and many forces still have the final tranche of savings from the last set of cuts to find. It is therefore imperative the Government urgently revisits the outdated and antiquated 43-force structure which hamstrings the ability of the service to properly modernise, and I will be raising this issue directly with the Home Secretary this afternoon.”

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