Police forces will “struggle” to maintain a reasonable level of service in the face of “dramatic” cuts to budgets, the outgoing president of the Association Chief Police Officers has warned.
Sir Hugh Orde said police were being forced to step in to act where other services have been cut back, particularly in areas such as mental health.
He told Channel 4 News: “It’s a new and additional and growing pressure on the police service.”
Sir Hugh indicated that relations between him and the Home Secretary had been strained.
He attended an event that Theresa May was also at a few months ago, but they did not have a conversation and the last meeting they held was more than a year ago, he said.
“The last meeting of the presidential team, me and my three senior officer colleagues who represent the leadership, was some 15 or 16 months ago,” he told the programme.
“That’s a matter for how the Home Secretary runs her department rather than for me to say ‘I think you should speak to me’.”
“I think we contribute less now than we have in the past,” he added.
Sir Hugh urged the Government to look at the scale of the cuts the police are facing.
He said: “The challenge is extraordinary. We have not seen cuts like this in policing in my lifetime.
£I have benefited from a service from 1977 onwards pretty much that has always seen its budget increase.
“It is absolutely right the service takes a proportion of the cuts this Government has no option but to implement, but I do think we need to think very carefully about a small part of the public sector expenditure being cut in such a dramatic way.
“The feedback I get from chief constables across the country is they are going to struggle to maintain a reasonable level of service.”