Crime levels will soar and the public will get a poorer service from the police as a result of the Government wielding the axe over police budgets, according to West Midlands police officers.
The Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said 88 per cent of its members said they believed cutting police officer numbers in the West Midlands would have a detrimental effect on crime levels.
The federation is campaigning against cuts of 20 per cent – or £125 million over four years – to West Midlands Police.
The results of the online survey come days before Home Secretary Theresa May gives a keynote speech to disenchanted officers at the annual conference.
According to the survey, 82 per cent believe their workload has already increased or will increase in the future as a result of the reduction in police officer numbers, and 93 per cent believe there will be a decline in service because of the planned budget cuts.
Almost all officers said morale had fallen because of a combination of cuts to budgets and officers, possible changes to terms and conditions and fears of how it would impact on the service.
Branch chairman Andy Gilbert said: “Cuts of this magnitude are criminal and, despite the very best efforts of ranks and file police officers, will undoubtedly lead to a poorer service for the residents and businesses in West Midlands.
“Officers feel they are being hit from all sides by this government which, in addition to attacking their terms and conditions, are imposing a 20 per cent cut on the service which will undoubtedly lead to increased levels of crime and a poorer service for the public in West Midlands.”
The force has 536 fewer officers and almost 600 fewer civilian staff than this time last year.
Up to 2,200 posts could go over four years but Chief Constable Chris Sims has repeatedly said that he believed cuts to officer numbers did not mean crime would rise.
A Home Office spokesman said the police had to do its part to help restore the nation’s finances.
“We are confident that the police service can maintain the drive to cut crime while becoming more efficient,” the spokesman added.
The force must make £40 million in cuts this year and another £38 million next year.