AN EXPERIENCED police officer has warned that stretched resources mean his force is no longer able to deliver the service expected by the public.

In an email sent to Swindon’s elected representatives, seen by the Adver, the officer said that crime and anti-social behaviour is increasing, while police visibility in the community is falling.

He wrote: “The current policing landscape is one of reduced budgets whilst trying to deliver a high standard of service.

“I have been to a number of meetings recently and have informed you, as elected members, that the current expectations from the community are not achievable.”

He urged politicians to come together to inform the public without causing fear.

The officer’s comments have been somewhat echoed by those of the Police And Crime Commissioner, Angus Macpherson.

He said: “We are facing tight funding and that is presenting us with some challenges. I am continuing to lobby the Government for fairer funding of Wiltshire Police.

“Our force is the fourth lowest funded in England and Wales per head of population. I have been pointing out the challenges of policing a rural county with long distances between the communities we serve.

“Community Policing is the best way to deliver our services with the finite resources we have.

“I have made a considerable investment in mobile technology, including smartphones and laptops, to reduce paperwork and allow officers and staff to work visibly in public places.

“Our officers and staff, led by Chief Constable Mike Veale, are working hard to keep people safe from a range of threats and challenges.

“We have seen an increase in recorded crime, but we are confident it is largely down to improved crime recording standards. The increase is in line with the picture across the rest of the country.

“My policing priorities are clearly laid out in my Police and Crime Plan for 2017 to 2021. I have a regular dialogue with the Chief Constable to ensure that the force is keeping people safe from the evolving threats.”

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland said that while he was happy to support the PCC in his bid for extra cash, it did not absolve police bosses of their responsibility to identify efficient ways of working.

“I understand the challenges facing our police as the nature of crime itself continues to change and move online,” he said.

“The national policing budget has been protected in real terms by the Government since 2015 and while I am happy to support the PCC and Wiltshire in seeking more funding, the leaders of our police service should continue to ask themselves whether they are getting their spending priorities right.”

The concern around providing a service that meets the demands of the public comes against a backdrop of repeated changes to the way Wiltshire Police delivers community policing.

The latest shift will see the number of community policing teams reduce from three to two., mirroring the Westminster constituencies of North and South Swindon.

It is a change supported by Mr Buckland and one the force say will not mean a reduction in operational resources available.

A police spokesman said: “We are constantly evaluating the effectiveness of the Community Policing Model and listening to feedback from staff and the public.

“As a result, of some of the feedback it has been decided the move from three teams to two would be a better use of resources.

“We are committed to providing the right service to the public and will keep this under review.

"The change will not involve a reduction in front-line staff. Swindon also continues to benefit from 24/7 Duty Inspector coverage and this level of supervision will remain unchanged."