'Public safety at risk' after loss of hundreds of Derbyshire police officers

The thin blue line is becoming thinner.
The thin blue line is becoming thinner.

Derbyshire's police tsar has said he fears public safety is being put at risk after the loss of nearly 400 officers in seven years.

Hardyal Dhindsa, the county's Police and Crime Commissioner, today revealed that since 2010-11 Derbyshire Constabulary has:

► cut 378 officers

► lost 18 PCSOs

► reduced the number of enquiry desks open to the public from 25 to four

► seen its police grant cut by £16.32million

► saved £37m

Mr Dhindsa and Peter Goodman, Derbyshire Constabulary's Chief Constable, have written to the Home Secretary stressing the impact of the changing nature of policing - including the increase in cyber crime, the threat of terrorist activity and the rise in modern slavery - and called for fairer funding for the county's force.

Mr Dhindsa is also urging members of the public to write to their local MP to get across the same message.

He said: "Demand on police resources has grown and crime itself has changed. These challenges will continue and, in many ways, intensify. If we are to sustain Derbyshire's position as a safe place to live, work or visit, we must be funded appropriately.

"The claims that police funding is 'protected' are somewhat overstated. For example, a protected settlement does not accommodate inflationary rises, legislative incremental responsibilities and population increases.

"When you look at the real picture, it's quite clear that the position is becoming closer to perilous.

"In 2010-11 we received £116.153m in police grant. This year, that figure has reduced to £99.833m. We have saved £37m over the period.

"In 2010-11 we had 492 residents per police officer. Today that figure is 620 per officer. We have lost 378 officers. We have fewer police staff and fewer PCSOs. We have 31 fewer enquiry offices. We have £16 less per resident to spend on policing than the national average. I can find little comfort in these facts.

"Everything possible has been done to minimise the impact on the public and service delivery. But I am concerned we are asking too much of our officers and putting public safety at risk.

"I will continue to lobby Government for a fairer deal for Derbyshire, which has historically received less than it should due to the funding formula currently being used to allocate funds. But I'm hoping that the public will add their voice to my plea.

"People can either write their own letter or take advantage of an outline we have prepared. This is available on our website, as are contact details.

"People tell me they want to see more police officers or they have concerns. This is their chance to speak."

We have asked the Home Office if it would like to respond to Mr Dhindsa's concerns.