Number of police officers drop by 1,200

New Home Office figures reveal that the number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen by 1,213 in six months.

Now recorded at 16 per cent below its 2009 peak, the statistics state the number of officers on 30 September last year was 121,929, down from 123,142 on 31 March last year and from 144,353 in 2009. Broken down regionally, the Metropolitan Police accounted for more than half of the fall in officers, with 646 fewer in September last year than in March. The biggest reduction in percentage terms (4.2 per cent) was experienced by North Yorkshire, which had 58 fewer officers than at the beginning of the period.

Scotland Yard have repeatedly warned that insufficient funding and resources is leaving officers overstretched in the face of rises in violent crime and a continuing terrorist threat.

A National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman said: “Police chiefs recognise that the policing settlement for this year is better than last year and we have welcomed the potential to increase resources. However, differences in the makeup of funding between forces mean that the increase in budgets will vary between 1.6 per cent and 3.6 per cent, and forces are still facing difficult choices. The impact on police officer numbers cannot be assessed until force budgets are finalised when police chiefs and commissioners will jointly review their options.”

Louise Haigh, shadow Policing Minister, said: “Once again we see how out of touch the Conservatives are with the lives of people across this country. Over 1,200 officers lost in just six months, more than 21,000 in total under this Tory government, against a backdrop of the highest rises in recorded crime in a decade. And yet ministers apparently think everything’s fine. Labour in government will add 10,000 police officers and provide the resources they need.”

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