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What will police officers have to stop doing in 2014?

generic images of a police officers uniform, 6-5-2006Neigbourhood policing and mental health work are just two of the policing jobs that may have to be sacrificed in 2014, front line officers have warned.

Cops have spoken out over shrinking budgets and shrinking officer numbers – stating the police officers and staff remaining in England and Wales cannot be expected to do everything. And that their forces may have to start saying “no” to certain policing work in the future.

“We clearly will have to stop dealing with National Health Service jobs,” says a PC from Greater Manchester Police. “Mental health takes up so much time it’s ridiculous. We spend hours and hours sat with often violent mental health patients – how and why is that our job?

“And let’s not forget the amount of times I have gone to jobs to assist an ambulance and they are not there when we get there. We are having to deal with jobs we are not trained for. We should not be left in these situations.”

A PC from Cumbria Police agrees with his Manchester colleague. “Mental health is a big problem for policing – especially those who inform us that they’re going to self-harm or to commit suicide,” he says.

“Instead of us going to these kind of jobs and asking questions we think we should ask, there should be a deployment team setup by the NHS to respond to such calls. We seem to spend a lot of time being used and abused by the NHS as free, unqualified social workers and protection and security guards for them.”

On neighbourhood policing, a PC from Leicestershire Constabulary says: “The sad truth is that numbers are now so stretched that we will soon have to go to a pure response system. If we are to continue with any kind of neighbourhood policing program, this will be the only way forward.

“We will need to stop going to every job, and actually turn jobs down.”

A PC from West Midlands Police says: “Every hour of every day we are dealing with jobs that wouldn’t have merited any response from the police at all ten years ago – jobs that are mental health and NHS responsibility particularly. Sometimes it’s refreshing to deal with a proper burglary, let alone have time for pro-active work, something that I always took for granted.”

Steve White, vice chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, adds that front line officers are “getting really frustrated at being pulled from pillar to post.”

He adds: “Police officers are increasingly being expected to take on the work of other public services and there is an urgent need to find effective solutions to this.”

Date posted: January 9, 2014

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