Police warn: 'There just isn't enough of us to cope'

File photo: Police say they do not get enough time on the streets. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Police officers have complained of a lack of resources and squeeze on officer's time as the cuts affect how the police work.

In a survey carried out for ITV News with the Police Federation rank and file officers said: "there just isn't enough of us to cope."

Almost 500 officers from across the country responded to the survey and were asked to list any incidents where they felt the cuts had affected their work.

Officers mentioned having to prioritise cases as they was not enough man power to investigate all of them. Some officers also said that resources including computers and cars were not always available and were in short supply.

Several officers also raised concerns over the handling of cases of rape, saying they are not being properly investigated.

File photo: Police say they do not get enough time on the streets. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Can you give specific incidents where the cuts have affected your work?

Some of the responses included:

  • Everyday policing is affected constantly

  • Our main priority is now servicing 999 calls. We spend no time on responses, on actually targeting criminals- we are just responding to calls.

  • Not enough police cars to go around. Most officers seen out on foot are doing this as they have lost the scramble for the car keys.

  • As back office staff are reduced the work they did has not diminished. It is now officers who are having to complete the bureaucracy.

  • It is regularly impossible to get access to computers or vehicles.

  • Unable to attend community meetings due to further areas of responsibility which take precedence at the last minute and members of the community believe we don't care.

File photo: Officers said there were not always enough cars available. Credit: Dave Higgens/PA Wire
  • As a Detective many of the rape cases take some time to investigate. I am dealing with some cases which are in excess of 6 months old. Due to lack of trained staff we have problems getting video interviews conducted.

  • Incidents such as attempted rapes would have previously been investigated by crime departments. these are now routinely being allocated to uniformed 24/7 officers who don't have the time to ensure a quality investigation is carried out unless they are taken off response duties thereby reducing the number of officers available.

  • Having to decide which rape will be investigated today and which one we will investigate tomorrow as there was not enough staff to do both.

File photo: One officer said unarmed officers were sent to incidents because armed officers were too far away. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire
  • Police officer assaults are more frequent as all officers are now singled crewed.

  • Due to lack of frontline officers, we are regularly being single crewed and sent to violent incidents, putting our personal safety in jeopardy. Also, due to lack of officers, there have been lack of resources to assist when officers have called for emergency assistance.

  • Unarmed officers having to attend armed incident because armed officers are too far away.

File photo: Police say they do not get enough time on the streets. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire
  • I have recently uncovered keeping detainees in custody too long as there are no staff to deal with them.

  • We have closed so many police stations and are now all based in "super" police stations miles from our communities. We have officers who do not know the areas, the criminals, the community contacts or the problems. I think this is a massive retrograde step.

  • Inexperienced call-takers, who are under pressure to answer an unrealistic volume of calls, are creating jobs for matters that are not in the police remit, mainly so they can move onto the next call, rather than dealing with the call effectively. In the last month I have been sent to incidents where callers should have been referred to Social Services, the Ambulance Service, the RSPCA, the Fire Brigade, Action Fraud, Environmental Health, the Dog Warden and the Taxi Licencing Authority.

  • Officers are spending up to an hour waiting to process prisoners booking into custody at peak times.

  • We have serious crimes waiting to be allocated but there aren't enough people to allocate the work to, as officers are inundated.

  • On nights we have only 6 officers, 5 sometimes, to cover a population of a quarter of a million.

  • There just isn't enough of us to cope.

  • Burglary victim has waited three days for a visit.

  • Every major incident has an affect, be it policing sporting events to murders, resources are stretched to breaking point.

  • Prisoners being bailed out without being questioned...due to insufficient officers available to interview them.

  • Significant investigation into vehicle crime had to be suspended as there were not enough officers to investigate.

The views expressed in this survey do not necessarily represent those of ITV News.