Police forces across England and Wales will lose a total of 28,000 jobs, including 12,000 officers, over the next four years due to budget cuts, a confidential memo to the coalition government has revealed.
The Association of Chief Police Officers predicts that the number of officers will drop by 8%, while one in six civilian staff will also lose their jobs, representing an overall fall in staffing numbers of just under 12%. The police currently employ 24,000 staff, some 143,000 of whom are officers and 101,000 who are civilians.
According to the Guardian, which published the details of the memo, the figures are based on the actual cuts decided by the majority of police authorities, although they also include some projections where final numbers have yet to be settled upon.
The cuts will hit urban areas hardest as they are more reliant on government funding, but have the highest crime rates due to comparatively high levels of deprivation.
The government’s aim is to reduce police budgets by 20% by 2014/15, but Home Office figures show that the cuts are front-loaded, with the majority having to take place in the next two years. Funding will drop by 6% in this coming financial year, followed by 8% next year, falling to 4% in each of the subsequent two years.
The news came as the first part of the Winsor review, due to be unveiled later today, is expected to recommend that police take a cut in take-home pay in return for fewer job losses.
The study will be followed on Thursday by the publication of a review of public sector pensions undertaken by former Labour minister Lord Hutton, which will propose that public sector workers, including the police, make increased personal contributions.
The moves could result in police officers being between 5-10% worse off financially coming as they do on top of a two-year pay freeze. Police officers claim they already make higher pension contributions than any other group of public sector workers.