A lot of promises to restock police officer numbers are being made by the Conservative Party leadership candidates.
But for Gloucestershire Police Federation, it’s a case of seeing is believing.
Front runner Boris Johnson has vowed to find 20,000 more officers for the national force while Jeremy Hunt has gone on record to say he recognises that cuts to policing have been severe.
More than 20,000 officers have been lost to police forces in England and Wales since 2010, 238 in Gloucestershire.
Federation Chairman Mike Harrison says he hopes whoever lands the top job will have policing high up on their to-do list.
“Seeing is believing, and we won’t know what their actual priorities are until they are in post,” he said.
“All I’d ask is that they work with the Federation, unlike their predecessor [Theresa May] who perhaps did not listen to us and suggested we cried wolf [about police cuts].
“I hope they work with the Federation nationally and locally if they can to see where officers are needed and the money that needs to be injected into the service.”
Mike and Vice Chair Steve James both believe the money is available in Government coffers to fund more officers for the frontline.
“It’s very easy, during an election race, to promise this, that and the other. The real test will become in what is delivered by either candidate should they be successful,” Steve said.
“It’s political will, isn’t it? The money is there. The money is being spent on a variety of other projects. It’s whether there’s a political will to invest that money where it should be, in putting police officers back on the streets and keeping the public safe.
“I’d like them to commit to returning police officer levels back to their pre-austerity levels,” he added.
“We’ve lost something like 20,000 police officers since 2010. That’s simply unacceptable. It’s had consequences across the UK – I’d be pressing them to make that right and reinvest back in our police.”
“Central government does have budgets that they can reallocate to priorities,” Mike said.
“Policing is a priority for the country. Nationally we’ve lost 26,000 officers since austerity began. Locally within Gloucestershire, we’ve lost 238 since 2010.
“So the cuts certainly have had their consequences – officers are doing more with less.”