More than a thousand police officers across the UK are slashing jobs despite the prospect of a recession-led crimewave.
The redundancies – the result of a funding shortfall – come despite warnings from senior policemen and police groups about rising levels of crime.
The cuts include:
- 50 officers in Dorset
- 80 in Gwent
- 82 in South Yorkshire last year
- 100 in Hampshire
- 120 in North Yorkshire
- 120 in Durham over the past three years, with more expected in 2009
- 144 officers and staff in Surrey
- 300 in Humberside replaced with civilian staff
The Police Federation spokeswoman told Personnel Today: “This is of extreme concern as there is already a front–line stretch, so to reduce officer numbers is ludicrous and prioritises the pursuit of unrealistic targets over public safety.”
Senior police figures have warned of force numbers being eroded at a time when a strong police force was necessary to “hold the line”.
Timothy Brain, chief constable of Gloucestershire Constabulary, said police would be thrust onto the front lines with reduced manpower.
“Unemployment peaked in 1985 but there was no downturn in crime figures until the mid 1990s. In the meantime we experienced severe social shock and it was the police service that held the line,” Brain said.
The Home Office said that government funding for the police had risen by 60% since 1997 and that officer numbers had risen by 14,000 since 1997. Press reports yesterday suggested that the police are preparing for a summer of discontent similar to those experienced in the 1980s.