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4th Jul, 2022

Concerns raised over dwindling police cover in Stratford

CONCERNS have been raised about the dwindling number of police officers in Stratford.

Former town mayor Cyril Bennis says more police should be deployed in the district after recent figures revealed crime had gone up by nearly a fifth in the county.

Since 2010 nearly 140 officers have been cut from the Warwickshire force, and Police and Crime Commissioner Phillip Seccombe has revealed some £6million must also be saved this year.

He said while he is unable to direct the force to station more officers in Stratford, he will check the town is being properly policed.

Mr Seccombe said: “With many different pressures on policing from across the whole county, it is important that we have the right resources in the right places to deal with the crime that causes the greatest risk of harm to people.

“The chief constable keeps policing resources under regular review to ensure they meet the changing nature of crime. While I fully accept that every area would like to see more police officers on patrol in their streets, this can only be achievable if the funds are there to pay for that additional uplift in staffing.”

There is also the risk of police numbers falling even further after it was revealed pay rises for officers will be funded by existing budgets.

Ending the four-year one per cent cap on wage increases for police, the government said officers will receive a one per cent rise plus a one-off one per cent bonus next year.

But Warwickshire’s police chief warned the rise would cost the county half a million pounds in the first year – the equivalent of around 12 police officers’ annual salaries.

While welcoming the decision to increase pay, the county’s Mr Seccombe said: “The decision to award additional pay now and in the future has an inevitable impact on policing budgets locally.

“The government has said the pay award will be funded within our existing budgets, which means we are unexpectedly now having to find an additional £500,000 this year.”

He welcomed the pay rise as ‘merited by officers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to protect the public’.

But he added: “While this can be accommodated in the short term, continue to press the case with ministers that a more sustainable, longer-term solution is needed to guarantee fair funding for all police forces into the future.

“I am doing all I can to make the case with county MPs and Government ministers for fair funding for policing in Warwickshire, with protecting the front line as the absolute priority.”

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