Number of neighbourhood police ‘drops by 7,000’

28 Aug 18

The number of neighbourhood police in England and Wales has fallen by 7,000 in the last three years, according to an investigation by The Sunday Times.

One in three neighbourhood police officers, who provide localised protection and intelligence, have left their jobs or been reassigned elsewhere in the police force since March 2015, according to the Sunday Times research. 

In the same period, the number of police community support officers, who provide increased visible police presence, has fallen by 18% to just 10,000, according to the newspaper.

Officers assigned to back office, administrative roles have increased by a quarter in the same period, according to analysis of government figures by the newspaper.

The investigation found that the total number of police officers has fallen by 20,000 since 2010.

Lord Stevens, former Scotland Yard commissioner, called the figures “incredibly alarming” and highlighted a recent upward trend in violent crime.

Shadow home secretary Dianne Abbott said: “Cutting over 7,000 neighbourhood police officers means that vital intelligence is missed an relations between the police and the communities they serve become more removed.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Forces are changing how they deliver local policing to reflect the priorities of local people and so that they can respond better to the changing nature of crime.

“Decisions about frontline policing, and how resources are best deployed, are for chief constables and democratically accountable Police and Crime Commissioners.”

The spokesperson said the government had awarded policing a £460m increase in overall funding for 2018-19. In July, the government announced £22m in funding aimed at preventing youth crime.

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