Data from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary shows that by March 2015, the police force in England and Wales will cut jobs by 14%. This equates to approximately 34,000 jobs including 16,200 officers and 16,100 civilian staff.
The HMIC added that this decrease in staff could mean a rise in crime rate. Additional information from the Home Office showed that there are currently 139,110 officers in England and Wales. This is 4,625 less than March of 2010. This year’s decrease was 3.2% and the number of staff had a decrease of 7%, at 74,010 this year compared to 79,596 last year.
The report, called Adapting to Austerity looks at effects of the budget cuts and reveals a larger issue than anticipated in terms of cutting jobs. Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, however, had this to say, “[Adapting to Austerity] makes it very clear there are a whole load of things you can do in terms of savings on bureaucracy, on backroom functions, to make sure you keep as many police officers out on the streets where people want to see them.”
According to the inspectorate, a third of the reduction has happened already and says an additional 1,800 community support officers will also be cut. Separately, the HMIC studied the effect on crime rate and summarized that a 10% reduction in officers will potentially lead to a 3% rise in crime.
Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary disparaged the cuts made by Home Secretary Theresa May, saying, “Cutting 16,200 police officers, including 2,500 front-line officers by next year alone, is an irresponsible gamble with crime and public safety.
“Theresa May has put chief constables up and down the country in an impossible position.”
This comes after the Home Office’s continual assurance that jobs at the front line would be conserved.
The minister for crime and security, James Brokenshire, stressed that the numbers did not necessarily mean a less effective force. “My focus is on visibility and availability – how the police are deployed, how they are used. Simply focussing on the figures doesn’t give you that analysis.”
The Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, Paul McKeever, disagreed, worrying that a fall in numbers would assuredly increase the crime rate. He expressed his concern by saying, “The knock-on effect will be police forces struggling to keep their heads above water as they try to deal with increasing demands and diminishing resources.
“This will fundamentally change the way we police our communities and an almost inevitable consequence will be a rise in crime rates as the population continues to increase and police numbers fall.”