Local neighbourhood police are an “endangered species” the chairman of the Police Federation has said.
Speaking at the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) annual conference, Steve White said: “We are down to the bone and having to decide - neighbourhood policing or 999 calls?
“Neighbourhood policing is the foundation of local confidence, trust and reassurance in communities that the police are there, that we will be there when needed, policing with their consent.
“And now neighbourhood policing is just one of the endangered species in the new, streamlined, barren policing landscape.
“A generation of young people is growing up never seeing their local police unless they are unfortunate enough to experience a serious crime. Is that the type of remote, faceless police service the public deserves?”
But Home Secretary Theresa May as responded angrily, accusing the Police Federation of “Crying Wolf”.
She said: “Claims of scaremongering and of officers being demoralised; this crying ‘wolf’ has to stop.”
Mr White responded by saying: “The reason that the things we said haven’t happened is nothing to do with Government policy. It is about the fact officers have made it work, officers have worked hard and we officers are ‘can-do’ people.
“Despite all of the cuts and change, officers responded and have kept the public safe. This isn’t about scaremongering or crying wolf.”
Theresa May added: “If we had not reformed police pay and pensions, chief constables would have had little choice but to cut more police officers and staff.”
But, Mr White said this was “nothing short of blackmail to say that officers have to take a pay cut or more of their colleagues will have to go.”