19/10/2011 06:53 BST | Updated 18/12/2011 05:12 GMT

Police Cuts Have Already Resulted In 3,000 Redundancies, Unison Claims

More than seven times as many police officers were made redundant in 2010-11 as cuts to police budgets started to impact on staff numbers, according to union figures.

Up to 2,557 officers were made redundant in 2010-11, compared to 348 in 2009-10, according to the numbers gained after a Freedom of Information request by Unison.

Women officers were most affected by the cuts, totalling 64 per cent of the reported redundancies.

Those forces with the highest percentage of reported redundancies were Sussex (12 per cent), South Yorkshire (9 per cent) and West Midlands (9 per cent).

Earlier this month the now-former chief constable of South Yorkshire Police said that government cuts would have a "disproportionate effect" on forces in the north of England.

Med Hughes, who resigned in October, said: "I wish the government had looked more sophisticatedly at the model of spending cuts it was imposing and perhaps imposed them on those forces that were inefficient or better able to withstand the cuts."

Unison is currently consulting its members, who include some police officers, over planned cuts to pensions.

Heather Wakefield, Unison's Head of Local Government, said that the cuts to police were affecting many types and levels of officers. She said:

"Forensics officers, PCSOs and 999 call takers are among the police staff carrying out vital roles for community safety. The public are not fooled by the Government’s false claims about protecting frontline policing. If police staff and PCSOs are cut, then police officers will be forced off the beat and back into the office."

The Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents rank and file officers, has estimated that the planned cuts will reduce budgets by up to 20 per cent, and cut 16,000 police officers.

The government claims that the cuts will be closer to 8 per cent, and should mainly affect what they refer to as 'back office' support staff, a distinction rejected by the Police Federation and other organisations.