BOBBIES on the beat in Hampshire could be a thing of the past – that’s the message of a new campaign launched today.

The Hampshire Police Federation is warning of the effects of Government cuts on policing, predicting that Hampshire Constabulary could lose 400 officers in the next two years.

Its Cuts Have Consequences campaign will see the federation take out bus, newspaper and social media adverts highlighting the consequences of cuts to policing budgets and what they mean to the tax-paying public.

Mr Apter said: “Police stations have closed, specialist units have been reduced and police officers are at risk of becoming an endangered species.

“The public are losing vital skills, experience and as a result protection. Police officers will continue to do the very best they can, but with such devastating cuts we ask if our best will be good enough?”

He added: “Police officers will simply become people who turn up when there is trouble. The only time the public will see a British bobby is when they are arresting people.”

The federation said Hampshire Constabulary has lost more than 600 police officers since 2010, and there are fears that another 400 could be lost in the next two years.

A total of 33 police stations across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight will be sold by 2018, and front desk opening times have been reduced or closed, Mr Apter said.

He added: “I accept that we must take our fair share of the pain in these austere times, but these cuts are too drastic and too deep.”