Outraged residents have hit out at police chiefs over cuts to frontline neighbourhood officers – slamming the move as a “slippery slope to lawlessness”.

In a shock move, David Onslow, chairman of the Hazlemere and Chepping Wycombe Neighbourhood Action Group (NAG), has resigned from his role amid concerns about the lack of support from the police force following an ongoing restructure.

The NAG was set up to help communities deal with local crime issues including speeding, parking and anti-social behaviour with support from neighbourhood police teams in the area.

Before the restructure, there was one sergeant, three police officers and six PCSOs in Hazlemere and Chepping Wycombe.

Now there is one sergeant covering Princes Risborough, Hazlemere and Chepping Wye Valley, just one police officer and two PCSOs.

Members of the NAG hold community speedwatch sessions, where volunteers use three Mobile Vehicle Activated Signs (MWAS) – which were paid for by £7,000 of public funds - in different locations and the data would be sent to officers.

Now, there are fears that the cuts mean police will not be able to look at the data and that there will be more crime.

Wycombe District councillor, David Johncock, who has been involved in the NAG since 2008, said that while they have been very successful tackling speeding in the past, volunteers are “beginning to wonder whether they have been wasting their valuable time and public money” on the scheme.

He said: “Ongoing changes in the TVP organisation has meant that police backing for the NAG work has diminished. The latest change has completely changed the way that TVP intends to undertake neighbourhood policing.

“Community policing in High Wycombe itself has also been reduced to the point of being largely ineffective and many district councillors are very concerned.

“Members of the public reasonably expect to see Bobbies on the beat and regularly patrolling in cars. Such a presence is a key to deterrence – something that is sadly lacking at present.

“These days, people speed, park on double yellow lines and use their mobile phone whilst driving without a care and surely this is the slippery slope to complete lawlessness.”

Mr Onslow added that the reduction in the number of officers is “very worrying”.

He said: “I resigned from my role on November 2. Other members were shocked and they have asked me personally to reconsider my decision. I said I would reconsider, but it will take some massive changes for that to happen.

“Will it take someone to be seriously injured or killed before the police make changes?”

Responding to their concerns, Chief Inspector Graham Hadley, deputy LPA commander for Wycombe, said: “In High Wycombe we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable, tackling violent crime and reduce crimes like burglary which have an impact of the lives of our communities.

“We are confident that the way in which we operate means that we will have our officers in the right place at the right time, to respond to the crimes that the public would expect us to, and our way of working will enable our officers to effectively investigate to bring offenders to justice.

“We are also committed to working directly with our communities on solving issues and as ever provide support to us by providing us with information on the crimes that are affecting them.

“Overall we are sure that we have the resources in place to enable us to deal with the crimes that most effect our communities and protect people in their hour of need.”