Police chief to tell MPs cuts putting pressure on his officers

A Yorkshire chief constable is to give a presentation at the House of Commons to brief MPs on how budget cuts are putting pressure on local police teams.

At least 10 South Yorkshire Labour MPs, including party leader Ed Miliband, have confirmed they will attend the one-hour briefing by Meredydd Hughes on Wednesday.

Mr Hughes, who heads South Yorkshire Police, warned earlier this year that crime would increase because of cuts to police and council services, combined with the impact from a likely rise in unemployment.

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The meeting, organised by Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey, was arranged as South Yorkshire Police Federation, which represents the county’s rank-and-file officers, claimed the Government’s plans to cut force budgets by 20 per cent would pose a “significant risk to public service and law and order”.

In an open letter to all South Yorkshire MPs, including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the Federation leadership calls on them to mount a challenge to Ministers’ plans.

“We would ask for your support in lobbying the Government for an urgent rethink,” the letter states, “because we believe that by ploughing ahead with the huge cuts in policing, the Government risks turning our fine service into a dilapidated, demoralised fragment of its former self.”

Mr Healey said: “South Yorkshire Police are having to save £40m over four years – they’ve said 1,100 police officers and staff will go and they’re reviewing front desks at local police stations.

“It is important for Med Hughes to have the chance to give South Yorkshire MPs his perspective on what the cuts mean for the force.”

Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis said: “Crime has stopped going down and thousands of police officers are being lost. David Cameron needs a plan to cut crime, not a plan to cut police officers.”

Since the cuts were announced, the Home Office has maintained that police forces should be able to make the required savings without affecting their front-line resilience.