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  1. ITV Report

Police chief warns new pay rises could cripple service if funded from existing budgets

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers

A police chief has warned that law-enforcement would be "acutely" affected if pay rises for officers are channelled from existing budgets.

The chief constable of Lincolnshire Police told ITV News that forces across the country were already critically underfunded - and warned against further cuts.

It comes as the government announced that the 1% cap on pay rises for police would be lifted.

But Downing Street revealed that increases in salaries - 2% for police over 2017/18 - would be paid from existing budgets.

Chief Constable Bill Skelly argued that deterioration in policing would be "quick" if the issue is not resolved.

Resources at Lincolnshire Police are already stretched very thin.

The government decision to lift the pay cap for police and prison officers followed mounting pressure from the public sector.

Other public sector areas, including nurses, are calling for the cap to end for them too.

Warnings from police about further cuts come as the number of officers across the UK forces continue to fall.

Thousands of on-the-beat police are believed to have been slashed in recent years.

In July, it was reported that numbers of traffic police had fallen by 30% over 10 years.

However, last year the levels of crime jumped by 10% - the biggest rise in a decade.

Chief Constable Skelly warned services would be 'acutely' affected.

Chief Constable Skelly told ITV News that his force could not afford further cuts.

"There's a black cloud hanging over us, that if that isn't dispelled, if that isn't resolved, then the difference in the service won't be gradual, it will be quite quick," he said.

Several police constables added that they would find it "really difficult" to carry on high standards of policing if numbers continued to be slashed.