From: Robin Hodgkinson
Lower Dicker, Hailsham
Having read your article where PC Dave Elliott expressed his concerns regarding police ‘unsafe staffing levels’ I would wish to comment (see page 4).
As a retired police officer in the local area I know how difficult it is for a constable to express concerns whilst senior management are forced to toe a policy brought about by austerity cuts that have affected the police no less than other government bodies.
The truth of the matter is that the police are understaffed in all areas and it is not only the public that suffers but the officers on the ground, trying their best to do a job that can be both dangerous and harrowing on occasions.
Sussex Police have been forced to develop priorities in order to cope which naturally come at a price, a call handling system that can be as frustrating as any commercial utility company and a grading system whereby decisions are made as to whether a police officer will investigate or even attend.
Individual members of the public do not need police assistance every day but when it is required is when the shortfalls of service become apparent. Officers like PC Elliott have to constantly deal with this failing and despite Chief Superintendent May’s attempt to reassure the public by suggesting local policing will be strengthened this financial year, I am not reassured at all.
There are simply insufficient constables to cope and PC Elliott is right that something needs to be done and it’s not an influx of PCSOs that are required but an influx of constables to provide a safer working environment and to return an efficient service to the public.