Funding cuts could send policing back 30 years, warns top police officer
Funding cuts could send policing back 30 years, warns top police officer Getty

Austerity cuts could put standards of policing back to where they were 30 years ago, one of the country's leading officers has warned.

Sir Peter Fahy the chief constable of Greater Manchester Police was speaking after a survey revealed many rank and file officers fear the thin blue line, has become too thin.

A survey by ITV News and the Police Federation of more than 500 officers revealed many think there are too few bobbies on the beat.

Forces face funding cuts of up to 20% and that has affected how police respond to crime, it was claimed. Examples included unarmed officers attending incidents involving firearms and community policing being hit.

Changes to policing will transform the police into a service which only responds to crime and does not try to deter it by working with communities, Sir Peter warned.

"There's a stark choice here... Either we completely redesign the public service and do things in a very different way, work completely differently with the other public agencies. If we don't do that, we'll be back to the sort of fire brigade policing of the 1980s when I became a police officer," he said.

He painted a picture of officers being bound to their desks and carrying out police work remotely.

"We need to do more work on the telephone and on the internet. We're going to change the way we provide service in the way your bank has changed the way it provides a service."

Responding to Sir Peter's criticism, the Home Office told ITV it was the task of chief constables to work with reduced budgets and deliver appropriate policing.