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Concern over pressure on Devon and Cornwall police force

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: March 15, 2013

Comments (8)

Devon and Cornwall Police are facing a triple assault on already-stretched resources with the G8 summit in Northern Ireland and the badger cull taking place during the onset of the holiday season.

The force's assistant Chief Constable Paul Netherton admitted to be "concerned" at the multiple demands being placed on the force in June.

Up to 100 officers from Devon and Cornwall are to be abstracted for three days' training and a week-long deployment to Northern Ireland in mid-June as world leaders gather in County Fermanagh.

At the same time, the force is providing "mutual aid" to Avon and Somerset to police potential flashpoints during the badger cull, which is scheduled to start on June 1.

"Both are happening at the beginning of the summer and of peak demand on our services when we see a big rise in the number of people coming into places like Newquay and Torquay," Mr Netherton said.

"We are being very careful to make sure we are not dipping to below our required safety levels, although the G8 summit is only for a week."

Mr Netherton said while not short of volunteers for the Northern Ireland deployment, officers were being chosen from different departments and locations to lessen the impact.

Restrictions have also been put on certain officers taking leave, as the force tries to back-fill the temporary vacancies.

"I am concerned at our ability to respond to multiple events that are taking place at the same stage," Mr Netherton added. "It would make some sense to stagger them in some way."

A variety of officers from the region, including firearms and personal protection specialists as well as public order units, are expected to join up to 4,000 officers from England, Wales and Scotland in Northern Ireland.

The summit will see US president Barack Obama, Russian president Vladimir Putin, German chancellor Angela Merkel and others gather for two days at Lough Erne golf resort in Co Fermanagh.

It will be the first time the annual summit has been held in the UK since Gleneagles in Scotland in 2005.

The Police Federation in Devon and Cornwall, which represents constables, sergeants and inspectors, blamed the Government for a lack of "joined-up thinking".

Branch chairman Sergeant Nigel Rabbitts said the looming problem had been made worse by the recent loss of 400 officers because of Government budget cutbacks, which had undermined the force's "resilience".

"Officers will either have to work overtime or be taken from other duties to cover," he said.

"It doesn't seem like joined-up thinking from the Government, especially given the impact on police resources because of restructuring of budgets.

"We have always said reducing officer numbers would affect the resilience of the force, particularly when there are additional operational demands."

Two culls of disease-carrying badgers, on Exmoor and in Gloucestershire, are to be carried out this year as part of a package of control measures for bovine TB.

Up to 5,000 badgers could be killed in the two areas during the four-year cull period. If found to be effective in combating the disease, which has ravaged cattle herds across the region, the "pilot" culls could be rolled out.

Devon and Cornwall Police have been closely involved in planning the policing response with neighbouring Avon and Somerset.

Contingency plans have been put in place if the local offices of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs or the National Farmers' Union are targeted by protesters.

Avon and Somerset Police has said it will "engage with protesters to facilitate safe, peaceful and lawful protests" but stressed its role was "to uphold the law by responding to any reports of criminality or public disorder".

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  • KJSkinner  |  March 16 2013, 1:02AM

    Every abattoir, fur shop and hunt (I'm assuming you mean hunting shop) will be at RISK !?! Oh, so are the animals who were skinned (usually alive btw) not at risk of being tortured to death, or the abattoirs, where many pigs enter the scalding tanks still conscious, or where stunning hasn't worked and cows have their throats slit whilst fully conscious, or hunting, where foxes are wripped apart by dogs. BigBob, the only beings at RISK are the badgers, rabbits, foxes, horses, pigs, cows and chickens, oh and the cats and dogs that went into making those fur coats from china which claim to be rabbit! I will forever stand up for those who's voices are ignored by selfish, greedy, cruel humans, who think that slaughtering innocent animals is the answer to everything! Police or not, this is wrong, and I will stand up and fight for the rights of these badgers. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our souls when we look the other way

  • twain1  |  March 16 2013, 12:20AM

    Hey BigBob no one cares about you either, so shut the **** up!

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  • bigbob  |  March 15 2013, 7:51PM

    I'm concerned, as the hardline animal rights activists and other hell raisers will no doubt target other buissness within the cull zone, knowing that the police are over stretched, and that with all the legitimate protesters in the area if they get caught they can claim they where just at the cull. every abbotoir, hunt, restraunt, fur shop, race track and god knows how many private individuals are at RISK. I couldn't care less about badgers, but I don't want an influx of hippys, anarchists and hell raisers in my neighberhood... Time to re-think the cull

    |   -4
  • Clued-Up  |  March 15 2013, 5:17PM

    "Two culls of badgers [almost all of which are perfectly healthy and no threat to anythng except earthworms, slugs, snails and rats] are to be carried out this year [because Paterson and Heath have an unscientific belief that slaughtering badgers in their thousands may reduce cattle bTB]." According to this article, the communities of Gloucestershire and Exmoor are to be deprived of their police services. Blame Paterson and Heath if there's no-one around to help YOU when your house is burgled or your car stolen. I'd understood from the "Times" and other newspapers in the cull areas that landowners giving permission for the cull would need to hire and pay for private security contractors. They'd go bankrupt if they took on that liability and so the cull wouldn't go ahead (much to the delight of the 92% public who oppose the cull) . Can anyone update me on what role the police intend to play?

    |   4
  • fischadler  |  March 15 2013, 5:15PM

    There is a simple answer to all this, just cancel the badger cull.

    |   9
  • jimjams2011  |  March 15 2013, 4:13PM

    They can't be that over stretched... also in the paper this week is the story of that PCSO who managed to have sexual relations during his working day without getting caught. Although, he says its fine as John Major Did it.

    |   3
  • JosefLeninski  |  March 15 2013, 1:16PM

    The main pressure on the Police force comes from a criminal justice system that hands out 3 month ASBOs to prolific violent criminals.

    |   3
  • JosefLeninski  |  March 15 2013, 9:41AM

    The biggest demand on the Police is provided by the criminal justice system who give violent criminals a 3 month ASBO for their trail of crimes extending back 9 years.

    |   8