Rank and file officers unleashed their fury on Sussex MP Nick Herbert and his coalition colleagues, claiming the Government wants to “destroy” the police.

At the annual Police Federation conference, John Giblin, chairman of the sergeants committee, attacked coalition cuts to the service of 20%.

Forces have entered a period of “doom, gloom and despondency”, he told the policing minister, who represents Arundel and South Downs.

Mr Herbert was forced to watch as officers tore into the Government’s plans, claiming they felt “let down”.

Mr Giblin said: “I wish I was the bearer of good news this year, but we’ve entered a period of doom, gloom and despondency in policing.”

The biggest loser “will be the public whom we all serve and have a duty to protect”, he added.

“They have and will continue to spew out that much-abused mantra that we have to be more effective and efficient, but don’t be fooled by this insincere, nihilist, smoke and mirrors, slash and burn policy, for it is in large parts economics and in greater part ideology.

“This Government, to put it bluntly, hates the police service and wants to destroy it in order to rebuild it again, but in their image.”

Federation member Julie Nesbit warned that everyone had to understand the consequences.

She said: “Those consequences are that public safety and security are at risk, and that law and order in England and Wales is off the Government’s agenda.

“When a Government acts in such a cavalier manner with the safety of its citizens by ignoring those who inspect the service, we have a right to know why.”