Police numbers make troubling reading

Ed Balls criticised the government today with new figures that show 14,500 police officers could lose their jobs as a result of the spending review.

Shadow home secretary Ed Balls has hit out at the coalition government’s 20 per cent funding cuts to the police force today with new claims that it could cost 14,500 police jobs. Balls’s figures come from a new survey by Labour’s Shadow Home Affairs team on the spending reviews affect on policing. Labour party research shows that 16 out of the 43 police forces or authorities in England and Wales have made public statements announcing a total of 14,482 police staff jobs will be lost, including 6,257 police officers.

The data used has come from statements made by chief constables and police authority chairs after the spending review such as those made by Cumbria police that

“…the total number of police officers will fall to 1,150 by September 2011.”

This is a reduction of 100 officers from the previous year and despite being achieved through “natural wastage” it will still mean fewer people employed by the police.

Balls singled out the lack of police financing in the spending review negotiations as a “mistake”. He said:

“This research shows the huge impact that the Conservative-led government’s huge 20 per cent cuts to policing are already making – 14,500 police jobs, including over 6,000 officers, are already set to go. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

“The vast majority of police forces have not yet announced how many jobs will go and some of those which have are only currently putting figures on job losses for one year.

“At a time of rising public protest, an ongoing terror threat, the security challenge of next year’s Olympics and an expensive reorganisation of policing, these cuts are a reckless and dangerous gamble. They will undermine the fight against crime and take unnecessary risks with national security and the safety of our communities. The government should go back to the drawing board and think again.”

Last week, the think tank Civitas published a study showing a strong link between police numbers and crime rates, warning that the cut to police numbers “might turn out to be costly for the British public”.

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