The chair of Staffordshire Police Federation says the public wants officers to be visible on the streets and not ‘stuck in offices’ fulfilling staff roles.

Lee Robinson has called on the Government to properly and fairly fund policing after it was revealed that 6,000 officers in the UK are having to work away from the frontline crime fighting to plug gaps in police staff roles.

He said: “Police staff are a vital part of policing. They have key roles in providing an efficient and effective police service, from finance to forensic, from HR to IT, from call taking to crime analysis.

“Like so much of our service, there have been large cuts to police staff, which means that officers are being taken away from the frontline to fill the gaps - and it’s wrong in every manner.

“Here in Staffordshire, we aren’t feeling the effects of police officers in staff roles in the same way other forces are, but with the new funding settlement my fear is that it won’t be long.

“Our communities want our police officers on the streets and visible, not stuck in offices doing the staff roles.

“We need long-term investment in policing to undo the years of cuts and austerity and to give us the service that public expects, and a fairer formula, which is not fit for purpose and is increasingly unfairly burdening local taxpayers.”

Lee’s comments came as Gavin Stephens, the chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said police faced a £3.2bn shortfall in funding and that it was still being damaged by austerity.

Mr Stephens said: “The reason that we haven’t fully recovered is because when you look at the underlying financial resilience, it’s difficult.

“[There’s been] a £1bn increase in borrowing, because we don’t get any capital grant to invest in our infrastructure, a £1bn reduction in reserves and £1.2bn still to make in savings. Those savings are predominantly going to come from police staff colleagues. So a £3.2bn cash deficit. That’s what would get us a stable service today.”

Mr Stephens said that policing was not ‘getting the full effect’ of the Government’s Uplift programme, to recruit 20,000 new officers.

He said: “Effectively, the pain of the budgetary pressures is felt by police staff. So hence the fact that we’ve got 4,000 staff vacancies and we’ve got 6,000 police officers that are in roles that should be done by police staff.”