Funding cuts force police to tolerate violence, says senior officer

A senior police officer has claimed violent drunks on New Year's Eve avoided arrest because of a lack of resources.

Richard Cooke, the chairman of West Midlands Police Federation, said officers have been forced to tolerate unacceptable behaviour from members of the public in order to save time and resources.

His comments came after emergency services across the country faced one of their busiest nights of the year.

He said: "Just got home after the NYE night shift.

"Reflection – the absolute number of violent/aggressive drunken idiots who 10, 15 years ago feet wouldn't have touched ground on way to custody – now simply tolerated.

"Reason – we simply hadn't got the officers to do anything else. Arrests inevitably take officers away for hours these days & we can't afford to lose them.

"The line of what constitutes acceptable behaviour is pushed further & further to make ends meet."

Cooke added that centralised custody suites, where suspects are taken to major urban centres rather than local facilities to reduce costs, is inefficient.

He said: "(The) Problem with central custody is they are inevitably further away from the majority of officers.

"We are wasting time travelling to & from, booking in which used to take 20 mins max can be much longer, & arresting officers instead of dealing with simple stuff now hand it over.

"To give you an eg. a major town like Walsall now has no dedicated facility. Prisoners have to be taken to Oldbury or Wolves.

"In traffic it's a nightmare for officers.

"Overall the efficiency of policing is harmed & it affects decision making where it should never be a consideration!"