Po­lice num­bers plunge by a third in eight years

i Newspaper - - NEWS - By Richard Vaughan

The num­ber of po­lice on the streets has dropped by nearly a third since 2010, re­search has re­vealed.

Po­lice num­bers in forces across Eng­land and Wales have plum­meted by al­most 56,000 – or 31 per cent – in eight years un­der the Con­ser­va­tives.

Ac­cord­ing to an anal­y­sis by the House of Com­mons Li­brary, al­most 178,000 po­lice of­fi­cers, in­clud­ing long-term ab­sen­tees, were recorded in2010.

The lat­est fig­ures from this year show there are now a lit­tle over 122,000 serv­ing of­fi­cers.

The drop in num­bers comes amid grow­ing con­cern around the surge in knife and other violent crime in Eng­land and Wales, with 37 chil­dren and teenagers be­ing stabbed to death so far this year.

Sa­jid Javid was ex­pected to an­nounce new po­lice fund­ing on Thurs­day, but this has been de­layed due to the po­lit­i­cal tur­moil around Brexit.

It was an­tic­i­pated that the Home Sec­re­tary would sig­nal an ad­di­tional £450m for the po­lice, paid for via a rise in coun­cil tax, which has led to crit­i­cism from op­po­si­tion benches.

It is be­lieved that Mr Javid has con­vinced the Chan­cel­lor Philip Ham­mond and the Hous­ing Sec­re­tary James Bro­ken­shire to al­low lo­cal po­lice and crime com­mis­sion­ers in Eng­land and Wales to dou­ble the polic­ing levy on coun­cil tax bills from £12 a year to £24.

But Labour has warned that this will not be enough to in­crease the num­ber of pa­trolling po­lice of­fi­cers.

Louise Haigh, the shadow polic­ing minister, said the fig­ures pro­vided “clear ev­i­dence of the im­pact that bru­tal cuts have had on the po­lice”.

“You sim­ply can’t pro­tect the pub­lic on the cheap, yet min­is­ters still don’t seem to be lis­ten­ing,” she added.

A Home Of­fice spokesman said: “We are on the front foot in en­gag­ing with the po­lice and recog­nise the chang­ing de­mands they are fac­ing.

“There is £1bn more of pub­lic money go­ing into polic­ing than three years ago and the Home Sec­re­tary has been clear that he will pri­ori­tise po­lice fund­ing.” The House of Com­mons anal­y­sis also shows the num­ber of of­fi­cers pa­trolling the streets of

– a loss equat­ing to about one in eight of­fi­cers.

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