The Home Office and senior police officers are today discussing a radical overhaul of working practices that could see police numbers cut by 28,000.
According to the Times, the proposal would involve police forces in England and Wales using thousands more ordinary staff in jobs currently done by uniformed officers.
A paper prepared for the meeting by Mark Rowley, chief constable of Surrey, and Althea Loderick, of the National Police Improvement Agency, concluded that £400m could be saved if every police force in England and Wales was made up of 50% uniformed staff and 50% civilian staff.
The discussions follow the announcement of the government’s plans to implement pay cuts among rank-and-file officers to reduce an overtime culture costing £500m a year.
The Police Federation said it was receiving mixed messages.
Chairman Paul McKeever said: “The government says frontline services are going to be looked after, yet behind the scenes there is work going on which could involve a potential cut of 28,000 uniformed officers”.