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Police face the challenge of spending cuts
Wednesday's big announcement about public spending cuts in the end had been so well trailed that there were few suprises.
It's still not that clear exactly what the real cash reduction will be for policing but we still think we can achieve the cuts and protect our local front line services by reducing costs in many, probably all, of our back room and headquarters functions.
That includes working more closely with other police forces but merging is not on the agenda. We'll be cutting out waste and reducing bureaucracy but that only takes us so far and you can't cut by these amounts without losing significant numbers of people and, therefore, doing less in some functions but we will protect local policing as much as we can.
The reaction in France to just one issue there, (increasing retirement age) is pretty 'high octane'.
What might happen here I wonder. What do you think?
Was the farmer's protest at Nursling this week an indication of more unrest to come? How strong are feelings in the city about the implications of the cuts?
If one concern already expressed is cuts in policing then what an irony if we end up policing situations of unrest or disorder arising from people's reaction to the public sector cuts.
But if it happens then that's our job 'without fear or favour' and it wouldn’t be the first or last time we might be policing events where our staff doing the policing have various personal views about any particular campaign or issue.
The animal experimentation or export protests, road building (remember M3 extension) and going back even further what about the miner's dispute or Stonehenge events of 25 years ago.
Don't forget the people behind the uniform and behind the scenes. Mums, dads, people with personal and family worries about what they, and we all, are going through. I wonder how we shall look back on this time. I don’t minimise the impact on individuals and communities but I also look at the city and how it is already building for the future so it is ready for and is pushing the economic growth which is already happening and which must, and I think will, continue.
One of the best ways to reduce crime (by the way it's down another 8 per cent this year) is to get as many people as possible in work, young people in effective education or training and achieve for people improving health and housing.
On that basis I hope we tackle the current austerity head on and get through it as fast as we can by taking tough decisions now in order to get to a better place sooner (and I don't mean a place down the motorway or up the train track!).
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