Police chief warns of “Armageddon”

CAMBRIDGESHIRE’S police force could face “Armageddon” if Ministers impose funding cuts of up to 40 per cent.

CAMBRIDGESHIRE’S police force could face ‘Armageddon’ if Ministers impose funding cuts of up to 40 per cent.

Julie Spence, Cambridgeshire Police, said the force would be reduced to a “999 emergency service” if such level of cuts were demanded by the Government.

Speaking days before her retirement she said: “If the Government pushed through these cuts, there would be a drastic reduction in service.

“It would be Armageddon. In the worst case it would be solely a 999 emergency response service.

“The police service you see today would not be the service you see in the future.”

She added: “There is a lot that needs to be looked at before they (the Government) start slashing and burning.”

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After more than 30 years in policing Mrs Spence said this level of cuts was the biggest ever challenge facing policing with the “thin line about to get thinner”.

As reported last month the force has launched a cost-cutting consultation in response to the Government asking public sector organisations to cut up to 40 per cent to their budgets.

Over the next four years this could see the constabulary lose up to �33million in funding - the equivalent of sacking all staff or 1,100 officers.

Mrs Spence said Cambridgeshire was already disadvantaged in terms of funding with the force receiving �175 per head per, population compared to the national average of �210.

She said “fairer funding” was needed or staff numbers would go considerably down.

“What the force looks like as a result of these cuts will depend on how the Ministers response to our plea for fairer funding,” said Mrs Spence. “This is the biggest challenge facing the county’s police force that I have ever seen.”

Mrs Spence leaves her post on Sunday (September 5) to be replaced by former Hertfordshire Deputy Chief Constable Simon Parr.

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