THAMES Valley Police chiefs have achieved what many would consider the impossible – cutting crime and reducing the annual budget by millions of pounds at the same time.

Like forces across the UK, Thames Valley Police have been told that funding from central government is being slashed by 20 per cent in the four years to 2015.

After facing strict instructions to save £59m during that period, they have managed to reduce recorded crime by 25 per cent over the past three years.

However, the cutbacks have not yet been concluded and Chief Constable Sara Thornton is warning that the force still needs to make further cuts over the next three years.

She has pledged that services to the public will be protected, but it is difficult to see how the same level of service can be maintained if significant budget reductions are being made year-on-year.

Some staff have lost their jobs and the number of special constables – volunteers – is being increased, so it is not surprising that staff morale has suffered.

It’s reassuring to hear that recorded crime is down, and that the Chief Constable will do everything she can to ensure the service to the public is protected, despite ongoing cutbacks.

But the force needs to ensure they do not put too much pressure on the staff who remain, as further cutbacks are made, otherwise morale could suffer further.

A more detailed explanation from the Chief Constable on how the savings have been made at the same time as cutting crime would be welcome.