Police Chief Sir Hugh Orde said 2 years ago: Tory Cuts Will Increase Risk of Terror Attacks – Police Chief Sir Hugh Orde, outgoing president of Acpo, fears policing system is nearing a ‘tipping point’ if resources continue to be reduced
The British state will no longer be able adequately to protect the public from criminals and the growing threat of homegrown terrorists if the Conservatives push through their plans to cut further into police numbers, the outgoing leader of the country’s chief constables has told the Observer.
Sir Hugh Orde, the retiring president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), the body responsible for the strategic coordination of police forces in times of national emergency, claimed that under Tory plans to take another 20% from the police budget on re-election, the risk to citizens would rise “exponentially”.
The coalition has already slashed the police budget by around 26% over the last five years, at a cost of 35,000 officers, and has signalled its intention to maintain that rate of cuts.
New figures from the House of Commons library show that if Tory spending cuts announced in last year’s autumn statement – which would lead to public spending falling to just 35% of GDP – were applied equally across un-ringfenced departments, they would lead to the loss of 29,900 police officers and 6,700 community support officers by 2019/20, bringing the ratio of officers to population to its lowest level since records began.
On Saturday it emerged that forces were already drafting radical plans to deal with next year’s cuts.
In the face of the significant growing threats from terrorism and cybercrime, Orde admitted he now had doubts that the state would any longer be able to fulfil its fundamental obligation to keep the public safe if further policing cuts of the size proposed were made.
He said that wider cuts to the public services had already put an increased burden on the police as a “service of last resort”, with officers having to fill in for ambulance crews and deal with those let down by depleted mental health care.
Orde, who said he had concerns about the future of community policing, said: “The police force is shrinking and