OFFICERS, staff and volunteers 'can't keep sprinting' to meet with soaring demands from the public, the chief of Thames Valley Police has warned.

Francis Habgood, chief constable of Thames Valley Police, said people in Oxfordshire need to expect a 'different' service to protect them due to the force struggling with savage budget cuts.

Mr Habgood admitted a stark rise in 999 and 101 calls in the summer months had revealed policing in the region is 'pretty lean' as he warned officers could not cope with the challenges for too long.

The chief's comments come as the force expects to lose 59 officer posts over the next three years as Home Office cuts continue to make it 'tougher and tougher' for officers.

About £22m of savings are due to be made by 2020 to bring the total amount of cuts to since 2011 to more than £87m.

In an interview with the Oxford Mail, Mr Habgood said 'difficult decisions' had to be made not only by those at the top but also officers on the ground about what they deal with in a daily basis.

He said policing in some cases had moved from being the 'service of last resort' to the 'service of first resort' - particularly when other organisations aren't available.

Mr Habgood added: "We are doing a lot to change. What we have seen over the summer was policing is pretty lean.

"You have an increase in terms of the demand coming in and that can really show. Despite having fantastic people, they can't keep sprinting for too long.

"It's getting tougher and tougher, there is no doubt about that.

He added: "We are looking at how we use technology to enable us to work in a different way.

"Sometimes it feels a bit like spinning plates, you have to keep all the plates going and some of the plates are a bit more important than others."

The chief said the force can still provide a 'quality service' in areas deemed most important, but said members of the public should expect a 'different service'.

Examples of ways in which policing could change include officers not attending every crime report.

Mr Habgood said in some cases, statements could be taken over the telephone and officers may not attend crime reports if they were not emergency calls.

He said: "It will be a different service. So I think that we can still provide a quality service in the areas that are most important.

"We will still invest in protecting the most vulnerable. We have increased the numbers of people we have go in child abuse and domestic abuse, child sex exploitation, the firearms officers - those areas which are protecting the most vulnerable, protecting our country.

"There are other areas where we probably have provided a gold standard service, when actually it's not necessary to be perfectly honest.

"There will be somethings that we don't do anymore. But I would argue there are question marks whether they are policing issues anyway."

At the peak of demand to the police, call centres received more than 1,000 emergency calls a day and more than 3,000 101 calls.

Thames Valley Police receive more than 1.3millon calls a year.

Mr Habgood said several murder cases and the recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester had contributed to the increase in demand, which exposed the leanness of resources.

Latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics revealed crime across Oxfordshire is on the rise, with a jump of almost five per cent in reported offences in a year including a surge in violent crime and shoplifting in Oxford.

Between April and December 2016, 108,122 crimes in the county were reported to Thames Valley Police, compared to 103,413 over the same period in 2015 and 100,804 in 2014.

But Mr Habgood said his staff were working meeting the budget challenges.

He added: "We have just been through of the new budget work and I know there are going to be areas where I'm going to have to invest in because they are a significant priority.

"And if you don't have new money then you have to make savings elsewhere.

"I will have to find more money to invest because of new priorities coming along."