Staffordshire Police Federation is calling for longer-term funding settlements to allow for better planning after a watchdog raised “serious concerns” over how the Force investigates crime, responds to the public and monitors suspects and offenders.

Branch chair Lee Robinson said the impact of a decade of budget cuts and unresolved recruitment and retention issues was now being felt across the Force but insisted its officers were trying their best to address the concerns.

His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) said Staffordshire Police was “inadequate” in these three areas and accused it of failing to “effectively meet the demands” of some of the work.

The findings were published three months after the Force was put into special measures amid fears about how it identifies and assesses vulnerability and told it needed to carry out more effective investigations and improve victim support.

Lee said the latest findings were disappointing but came as no great surprise.

He said: “Our members work extremely hard every day to provide the most effective service possible for the people of Staffordshire. They are proud of what they do so will be disappointed by these latest findings.

“But there are long-standing issues that are out of our hands - and to a large extent out of the Force’s hands - and until they are resolved it is going to be an uphill struggle.”

Lee called on the Government to carry out an urgent review of the police budget and funding mechanism which he warned was not fit for purpose.

“There is no doubt the current issues are linked to years and years of budget cuts and a broken funding model,” he said.

“The Police Federation in Staffordshire and nationally has been calling for longer term funding settlements to be introduced to allow for better planning forward planning.

“Trying to budget year-to-year just doesn’t work for a complex organisation like a police force and the results of trying to do so are becoming clear.”

He warned officer numbers continued to be a problem and was having an impact on the morale and wellbeing of members.

He said: “Another key element in all this is the recruitment and retention crisis and its knock-on effect on workload.

“The demands on our members have grown and grown to almost impossible levels over the last few years while officer numbers are only just recovering from austerity-led cutbacks.

“We warned there would be a heavy price to pay but we were ignored and our fears were dismissed as scaremongering yet here we are today being told we need to improve as a matter of urgency to keep the public safe.”

Staffordshire Police Chief Constable Chris Noble said he fully accepted the findings of the report and was committed to addressing its recommendations.

He added: “We are already well underway with these improvements, a fact recognised by the inspectorate. This report will be concerning for Staffordshire residents but we have specific and clear plans to deliver the standard of service our communities expect and deserve. 

“This will not be an easy journey and it will take time to embed and fully realise improvements - but it is one I and my staff are fully committed to.”