A BARRISTER who is running to be the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley has blasted police budget cuts as ‘criminal’.
Labour candidate Tim Starkey has criticised 20 per cent police budget cuts and says police officer numbers should be protected.
But Mr Starkey said he would rather see police station opening hours cut than a reduction in bobbies on the beat. Several Bucks police stations, including Gerrards Cross, Amersham and Chesham have had opening hours reduced in a bid to save cash.
Mr Starkey, who is a barrister with 10 years experience, said in order to protect the numbers, the police preset would need to rise.
Mr Starkey said: “I think it’s at breaking point and 20 per cent cuts to police funding is criminal. To make cuts at a time of rising crime is reckless.
“I work with police officers every day who feel demoralised and angry about the cuts.
“We have to be honest. If we want to protect police numbers I think the precept has to rise. I think it’s inevitable that it will rise. Exactly by how much I’m not in a position to say at this point, but you can’t cut the precept and crime.”
To help save cash, Thames Valley Police is slashing front desk opening hours at several police stations including Chesham, Amersham and Gerrards Cross from next month.
Mr Starkey said he thinks this service reduction is necessary to help keep police numbers up.
He said: “In my view there have to be cuts made and I’d rather see opening hours cut than police officers. I don’t think that many people report crime over the front desk. I think we have to be honest with people and whoever is elected will have to make cuts.”
The new role of Police and Crime Commissioner was introduced by Home Secretary Theresa May and elections will take place on November 15.
Mr Starkey believes he is the man for the job. He said: “I’m passionate about this and I think it would be good to have someone with a real understanding of the criminal justice system.”
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