Dyfed Powys Police Federation chair Gareth Jones said “the thin blue line is being stretched ever thinner” after the Home Secretary insisted forces must investigate all thefts as part of a new crime crackdown.
Suella Braverman said that following the Uplift programme, which aimed to recruit 20,000 officers and restore numbers to 2010 levels, forces now have the resources to pursue all “reasonable lines of inquiry”.
But Gareth said the Force was already under-resourced and overworked, that many officers were swamped by red tape, and there were issues around retention.
He said: “The reason our members came into policing was to catch criminals and to help people and communities, so of course they want to investigate every crime.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman.
“But officer numbers were decimated after 2010 and we also lost support staff and infrastructure.
“Only now are numbers getting back up to that level, but in that time the nature of policing has changed and the thin blue line is being stretched ever thinner.
“The population has grown and the crime rate has risen. We’re having to investigate more crime, more complex crime and our members are buckling under the weight of their workloads.
“Detectives are drowning in red tape because of data protection legislation and disclosure guidance, which means they’re spending hours behind their desks rather than investigating crimes.
“And we’re seeing officers leave the service because of pay and conditions.”
Now Gareth is calling on the Government to provide sustained, long-term investment in policing.
He said: “What the Home Secretary is saying just doesn’t add up without real investment.
“We need to invest in our people, training, infrastructure, resources, everything to ensure officers are supported in their work.
“We need to cut the bureaucracy so they can spend more time on the streets and preventing and investigating crime.
“And we need to give our members a proper pay deal that makes policing an attractive long-term career and ensures we retain our experienced colleagues.”