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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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News: Police set to shed 32,400 jobs by 2015


A huge 32,400 police officers and civilian staff in England and Wales are to lose their jobs by 2015 due to spending cuts of 20%, according to a study.

The survey conducted by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary revealed that some 17,600 jobs have already gone since March 2010 in a bid to save £749 million, which amounts to more than half of the 2015 target.
The aim now is to cut the number of frontline officers by 5,800 or 6% across the 43 forces within the next three years. The figure is higher than previous official surveys and also does not include the Metropolitan Police, the UK’s largest force, or Cheshire, both of which have yet to publish their plans.
But HMIC warned that three forces – the Met, Devon and Cornwall and Lincolnshire – could well be put in a position where they cannot provide an adequately efficient or effective service to the public in future.
It also said that the nature of frontline policing was changing, with forces merging response and neighbourhood team, spending more on police investigations and protection and increasing their use of volunteer special constables by 9,000.
Policing in austerity
The Inspectorate’s report entitled ‘Policing in Austerity: One Year On’ indicated that the number of officers who ware “visible and available to the public” has dropped by 5,500, which includes 5,200 fewer response officers. The number of neighbourhood officers has risen by 2,300, however.
But the study also warned in the strongest possible terms that more was yet to come. It said that police forces must start preparing for even deeper cuts in the next Treasury spending round for the period after 2015.
Policing minister, Nick Herbert, said that the report made it clear that “the frontline of policing is being protected overall and that the service to the public has largely been maintained”, however.
“The proportion of officers on the frontline is increasing, the number of neighbourhood officers has gone up, crime is down, victim satisfaction is improving and the response to emergency calls is being maintained,” he added.
But the Association of Chief Police Officers warned that maintaining performance would become increasingly difficult.
Chief constable Steve Finnigan told the BBC: “In a service where 80% of our budgets are spent on pay, we will continue to see reductions in police officer and police staff numbers across the country, and all forces will work very hard to mitigate the impact of such significant reductions in the number of our people.”
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Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett

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