QUESTIONS were asked and answers were given, but the mountain of problems facing the police force in Gloucestershire were all but glossed over by the Home Secretary when she visited Stroud.

Reporters were given a total of five minutes with the Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who – among her many governmental duties – oversees policing in the UK.

Visiting Stroud police station today, the Home Secretary met with frontline officers to get a feel of what their day-to-day duties are.

Photos and video would not be allowed, any photos would be provided after the meeting and questions would be limited to possibly one or two per reporter – three was the final overall total.

After liaising with a fellow reporter, the topics of choice were funding cuts and a reduction in officer numbers and the stresses and strains officers face due to these changes.

And although answers were given, the key topics on the table did not appear to be addressed.

A substantial £7.5 million is being allocated for mental health support and £1.5 to the charity Mind to support officers further, but this does not fix the issue – as raised by the chairman of the UK police federation, Steve White – that officers are struggling to put food on the table for their families.

When asked about how officers are being forced to make up the gap in officer numbers – which have fallen by 230 in the past decade, the Home Secretary said the following:

“Between 2010 and 2015 there were cuts to the funding budget and in that period crime continued to fall, and I would say – to be frank – ‘well done’ to the police officers who managed to achieve that,” she said.

“To continue to have a reduction in crime – which is down nearly a third since 2010 now – and to see a reduction in the budget, has really been a fantastic achievement.

“Since 2015 the budget has been protected, and in this area it has actually gone up very slightly for this period, but I’m confident from what I’ve heard today that the officers are going to continue to do a great job with those resources.”

When asked about the number of officers in Gloucestershire who felt there was low morale in the force (91.5 per cent), alongside the dissatisfaction with levels of pay compared to the stresses and strains of the job (81.5 per cent) the Home Secretary said:

“I’m always going to listen to issues to do with welfare of the officers, which is one of the reasons why I was pleased to support the bid to the police transformation fund to put £7.5 million aside to support mental health issues, and £1.5 million to Mind so that they can support officers when necessary.

“Because I know from talking to them - that’s why I’m here today, to talk to frontline officers – that the types of crime they often deal with, no wonder people may need mental health support afterwards.

“We are determined to support officers, recruitment in police forces is still high, there are still plenty of applicants that want to join, and retention is high – I don’t really recognise the full extent of what the Police Federation are drawing attention to but I do think that we need to continue to support officers, because they do such an important job.

“it’s been fantastic to be here today, to meet with frontline officers to hear about their experiences about being on the ground, I just think it is so important for somebody like myself to do that.”

There are not enough police officers on shift and on the frontline, what do you say to that?

“What we are really interested in is making sure that we are getting the best outcomes for everybody so that police are deployed in the right place for the right time so that people feel protected and secure.

“It seems to me that the local police here do a good job at reaching out to people both in terms of prevention.

“From the HMIC they were rated good – I’m sure there is always going to be room for improvements – but the public like to see their police, I understand that, and seeing the PCSOs and the special constables here, who are a big part of the visible presence here, suggests to me that they are doing just that.”

The Home Secretary also met with Gloucestershire Chief Constable Rod Hansen, Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl and his deputy Chris Brierley.

"I was delighted to have the Home Secretary visit," said PCC Surl.

"I'm always grateful to have the opportunity to put Gloucestershire on show.

"We had a very productive meeting."