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Federation Chairman says pressures on policing are mounting

Leicestershire Police has been rated as 'good' in nine of the 13 categories set out in the newly-published national report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

Yet Leicestershire Police Federation chairman Tiff Lynch, who represents the Force's constables, sergeants and inspecting ranks, still believes officers are having to work 'harder and longer' to do their jobs and has called for 'something to change'.

"Our members have been telling us for a long time that the demand on an already thin blue line is too great and this report illustrates that on a local and national level," she said.

In his annual State of Policing report, HMIC's Chief Inspector, Sir Thomas Winsor, has rated the performance of each of the 43 forces in England and Wales in various categories.

Four forces were judged to be 'outstanding' against one or more of these categories and only one force - Bedfordshire Police - was found to be 'inadequate' for one category, but 18 forces were found to 'require improvement' in one or more categories.

In summary on a national scale, Sir Thomas was sympathetic and believed many forces are having to pick up the slack as cuts in other public services increases pressure on them and adds further strain.

There were three main sections in which each force was rated on: effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy.

Leicestershire were rated 'good' in seven of the eight areas of the latter two. Yet it was deemed to 'require improvement' in three of the five areas of effectiveness.

From Leicestershire Police Federation's perspective, Tiff said the report was further evidence of the stresses and strains that are being put on officers to carry out their work.

"We have been saying that something needs to change for a long time now," she said, "Officers are having to work harder and longer to try to deal with the pressures that are put on their shoulders in order for them to do their jobs in a professional and compassionate way.

"As well as areas that are seen by the public as being traditional parts of policing, like law and order and crime prevention, there has also been an explosion in cyber crime and online fraud.

"The pressure to fill gaps created by a lack of investment in other areas, like mental health, has further added to the expectations of an already stretched Force."

Steve White, the chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said he believes the HMIC report had come at an opportune time with the upcoming snap general election called for 8 June. He said he hoped those in power would consider the contents of the report.

"As recent events have shown, police play an integral part in the security of the nation. It is my hope that that security and policing in the future forms part of discussions in the build-up to the general election," he added.

"If it doesn't, it would be a disservice to the public, and to every officer.

"As Sir Thomas said in his report, 'every day and every night, police officers do things that most of us go out of our way to avoid' - we must protect policing, in order to protect the public."