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Police officer numbers at 11 year low

image2Numbers have plummeted at West Yorkshire Police after 158 officers were lost in a year.

5,095 officers were employed at the force in September 2012, while just 4,937 remained in September 2013

The 3.1 per cent decrease is higher than the national average of 2.4 per cent and leaves the force just 4,937 fully sworn officers.

Staff members also fell by 2.7 per cent as West Yorkshire lost 78 civilian workers in the same period.

There were 128,350 officers at the end of September last year, a fall of nearly 3,500 in a year and the lowest number since September 2002.

Just eight forces saw an increase in police numbers with British Transport Police Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, North Wales, Suffolk and Thames Valley Police recruiting more officers than were lost.

Steve Williams, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents tens of thousands of rank-and-file officers, said: “These figures present the stark reality of the impact the cuts are having on the frontline.

“Police officer numbers are now at their lowest level since September 2002. There has been a decrease of 3,488 police officer numbers compared to a year earlier. That equates to a loss of invaluable skills and experience.

“The service has stood strong in the face of extreme cutbacks and unprecedented reform. It is testimony to the dedication and professionalism of the officers who remain that we are continuing to take the strain.

“There has not been a decrease on expectation on the police service to deliver. The service simply cannot sustain further cuts to officer numbers.”

National policing lead for workforce development Chief Constable Mike Cunningham said: “With reduced recruitment and the considerable cuts made to policing budgets, it is not surprising that the number of officers and staff have reduced across England and Wales, and this clearly presents a challenge for the police service.

“However, the effectiveness of policing cannot be measured by the number of officers and staff alone, and the service has risen to the challenge of dealing with significant financial restraints and continued to maintain the protection of the public.”

Date posted: February 6, 2014

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