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Police Federation chair backs Fight for the Wight

Thursday, April 14, 2016 - 8:08

WITH the Isle of Wight facing a funding crisis in social care, mental health provision and homelessness, the police are increasingly having to deal with society’s problems rather than concentrate on maintaining law and order, a leading police figure has said.
John Apter, chairman of Hampshire Police Federation, has backed the Fight for the Wight campaign, warning officers on the Island are overstretched due to massive government cuts to the Hampshire Constabulary budget.
Mr Apter said he feared for agencies that help the vulnerable — at greatest risk from cuts to their services — and the impact it would have on policing across the Island.
The number of police officers on the Island has reduced by a quarter, between 2010 and last year, and are struggling to respond to 999 calls quickly.
The situation for the constabulary is to get much worse, with further cuts of £25 million to be implemented by 2017.
"Officers on the Isle of Wight are doing the best they can, but they are constantly having to handle issues other agencies should be dealing with," said Mr Apter.
"There is a real concern budget cuts it will impact on the most vulnerable in society.
"I worry about people like my mum, a vulnerable person herself, who needs assistance from the NHS, which is why I’m very happy to back the Fight for the Wight campaign.
"Any cuts to essential services, or the loss of them, would have an impact on the police.
"The demand is already greater than ever on policing, and the Island, being an island, makes those pressures more unique.
"With its unique status as an Island and a need to be more self-sufficient than other areas, any cuts to essential services would have to be picked up by somebody. Very often that would be the police.
"Following the budget cuts, I fear we would not be in a position to cope with any more demand, which could leave gaps in service provision to some of our most vulnerable communities."

 


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