Sunday, 6 February 2011

Police to lose '10,000 officers by 2012'

More than 10,000 uniformed police officer posts are set to disappear by next year in England and Wales, Labour Party research suggests. Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the loss would be "brutal" and called the level of cuts "crazy". The coalition's Spending Review set police budget cuts at 20% by 2014-15.

The government has always insisted that front-line jobs can be protected, despite the savings they want, but it has yet to respond to Labour's figures. The coalition has said it hopes that chief constables can cope with the cuts by saving on backroom staff, bureaucracy, and pooling more resources with other forces.

BBC political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg said Home Secretary Theresa May has always insisted that the cut in police budgets of 4% this financial year and 5% next year, should not have to mean a cut in the number of police officers. But after Labour collated figures from police forces in England and Wales the party claims that hope cannot be realised.

Ms Cooper said their figures for the next two years were "only the beginning", with a third of forces yet to announce their cuts for next year. Most of those that have announced their cuts have only looked at the next two years, she added. "Cutting so fast and so deep into police budgets is crazy. It is completely out of touch with communities across the country who want to keep bobbies on the beat," said Ms Cooper.

“How do they think it helps the fight against crime to force so many experienced police officers onto their pensions or trained police community support officers onto the dole, leaving the rest of the force overstretched as a result? Chief constables are being put in an impossible position. They are working hard to fight crime, but the government is pulling the rug from underneath them," she added.