Report: 34,000 Police Jobs Will Be Cut As Budgets Tighten
More than 34,000 police jobs will be lost due to police budget cuts, inspectors have said in a report.
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary said in an analysis of police efficiency that around 16,200 officers will be axed by 2015, leading to a potential rise in crime by up to 3 per cent.
The cuts also include 1,800 community support officers said the HMIC said after conducting a study of 43 forces in England and Wales.
That 14 per cent overall reduction is higher than previous estimates by the Association of Chief Police Officers, who had suggested that around 12,000 police staff would be cut. Around a third of those cuts have already been made as forces shed 11,200 jobs between March 2010 and March 2011.
Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Roger Baker, said: “We found authorities and forces are planning relatively modest cuts to frontline numbers this year and they had all set an ambition to reduce crime. But whether they achieve and sustain this is yet to be seen. To sustain this, most forces will have to transform their efficiency.”
The report was blasted by the Police Federation of England of Wales, whose chairman Paul McKeever said it showed government cuts would "turn the clock back at least a decade" on policing.
"The knock-on effect will be police forces struggling to keep their heads above water as they try to deal with increasing demands and diminishing resources. This will fundamentally change the way we police our communities and an almost inevitable consequence will be a rise in crime rates as the population continues to increase and police numbers fall."
"With such a state of flux in policing, it is time to take stock and conduct a Royal Commission on Policing to ensure we have a police service that is fit for purpose to deal with future public expectations and demands.”
Those criticisms were echoed by the shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, who said the cuts were "an irresponsible gamble" on crime. "Already we have lost 4,650 officers since spring 2010. These have included specialist firearms officers, experienced officers who have cut crime in their communities... The Home Secretary has said the cuts don't need to affect the number of officers or frontline services. But the independent inspectorate's report shows that is wrong."
Meanwhile, Crime and Security Minister James Brokenshire said the cuts represented necessary efficiency savings:
“Today’s HMIC report shows that the police can and are rising to the challenge by reducing costs from the back office while protecting frontline services. HMIC predict that by March 2012 the proportion of the police workforce working in frontline roles will be higher than it was in March 2010."
ACPO lead on reducing bureaucracy Chief Constable Chris Sims said that police forces faced tough choices in making lower budgets work for their constabularies:
"Chief constables are determined to do everything possible to preserve the policing service to the public through a period of substantial change. The HMIC report published today shows that part of that change will result in police numbers reducing to those of a decade ago, confirming the scale of the challenge ahead."
“Chiefs understand the policing sector cannot be immune from cuts taking place across the public sector. To be successful in preserving our service to the public we need the freedom to challenge the way we operate and, rather than crude numbers, focus on outcomes that keep people safe.”