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‘We’re at breaking point’ - Under-pressure police officers speak out as force hit by budget cuts

Officers from Avon and Somerset Police have spoken exclusively to ITV News West Country about cuts to their budget Photo: ITV News West Country

Police officers in Avon and Somerset have told ITV News their force is “breaking point” after years of budget cuts.

At a time when the public are being asked to pay more for their police, PCs, sergeants and senior officers have revealed there are insufficient numbers to cope with rising crime levels - which has led some to consider quitting.

PC Ainsley Husain said: “There's just not enough of us and criminality around the city goes almost undetected at the moment."

PC Ainsley Husain (pictured) told ITV News crime was going undetected due to a shortfall in officer numbers Credit: ITV News West Country

He was speaking after attending a stabbing in a Bristol park.

"There'll be other emergencies unresourced at the moment, whether that be on our patch or other areas around the city that are going unresourced.

“People have been waiting hours to see a police officer."

It is a view supported by his inspector Steve Davey who, from his base at Trinity Road in east Bristol, had two sergeants, 18 PCs and four volunteer specials for his Saturday night late shift.

"The amount of offenders we bring to justice has reduced, which is disappointing because it doesn't give victims closure,” he said.

“We're stretched to breaking point because it might take 24 hours or 48 hours to get to see a victim of crime which is never [how] it should be."

Inspector Steve Davey talks to ITV News West Country Credit: ITV News West Country

Avon and Somerset Police’s total force budget is £284million a year - that's £32,500 an hour.

Much of that is spent on the force's 2,651 officers.

The Home Office says it has announced the most substantial funding increase for the police since 2010, while Avon and Somerset's coffers will rise to just over £300million if the Police and Crime Commissioner increases council tax precept by £2 a month.

£284m
Annual budget for Avon and Somerset Police
2,651
Total number of Avon and Somerset Police officers

But that is in the face of increasing crime. In the last three years, overall numbers have risen, while justice for victims has fallen with only one in every eight people seeing their investigation concluded.

Violent crime has nearly doubled in that time as has the number of people arrested for possessing knives and other weapons, according to ONS figures.

Tonight at 6pm (Thursday, January 17), we're dedicating our entire show to investigating the state of policing following years of budget cuts - and how this affects our safety. You can watch part of our special investigation here:

You can watch the special edition of the programme in full below: