Cuts 'may destroy my police force'
A police chief has warned his force could be "unsustainable" within three years if funding cuts continue at current levels.
Neil Rhodes, chief constable of Lincolnshire Police, outlined his concerns in a letter to the Home Secretary Theresa May, seen by the Daily Telegraph.
In the letter he said his force could be the first "to fall over" as cuts to officer numbers in response to a reported £10.4m budget shortfall would mean it would be unable to police effectively.
He said: "If we were a business, then it would be being funded at below the cost of being in business. The cupboard is bare and it is likely that we will be the first force in the country to fall over."
"In 2016-17, Lincolnshire Police will be, on the basis of current financial projections, on the edge of viability. In the following year it will be unsustainable.
"To cut officer numbers by the amount needed would mean service degradation to a level that would be unacceptable to our communities and compromise both public safety and officer safety."
Nationally, the Government announced in May this year's funding settlement for the 43 police forces in England and Wales in 2014/15 was £8.5 billion, compared with £8.7 billion in 2013/14 and £9.7 billion in 2010/11.
And the total amount of central funding is projected to fall by around 20% in real terms between 2010/11 and 2014/15, as originally planned in the 2010 spending review, while officer numbers have fallen by 16,000 since 2010, according to the Police Federation.