Drink-related crime funding warning
Tackling alcohol-fuelled crime may have to drop off police officers' to-do lists if funding for the service continues to fall at anticipated levels, rank-and-file officers have warned.
Steve White, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said officers may not be able to arrest people for alcohol-fuelled crimes without jeopardising other vital areas of work.
Earlier this month, the Government announced a further 5% cut in police funding for 2015/16 amid warnings that government funding is due to be cut further in future years.
Mr White said: "We simply cannot continue to do everything that is being asked of us given the dwindling resources being allocated to policing.
"Society may have to come up with a different way of dealing with drunken, rowdy behaviour if police officers are also going to be able to deal effectively with counter terrorism, managing sex offenders, cybercrime, child sexual exploitation, looking for missing persons and dealing with people suffering from mental health problems, to name but a few jobs on the list.
"These vital areas of policing aren't counted in the official crime statistics but no one would disagree - least of all officers - that it is work at the core of our mission to keep the public safe."
In the last five years, a total of 34,000 jobs, including around 15,000 officers, 4,000 police community support officers and 15,000 staff, have been lost in policing directly as a result of the cuts, Mr White added.
He said he would be seeking talks with the NHS to discuss how best to respond to alcohol-fuelled behaviour.
"The ongoing programme of cuts risk putting the public in danger because the police simply will not be able to do everything necessary to keep them safe," Mr White said.
"Given this, should we really be expecting officers to deal with people who may not necessarily be a threat to others but have had too much to drink and can't control themselves?
"This is an issue that goes deeper than just locking people up - there has to be a better solution that alerts all sections of society to play their role in selling and consuming alcohol in a more responsible way."