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UK police officer numbers down

The number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen to their lowest number in years

The number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen to their lowest number in years

LONDON — Police officer numbers in England and Wales have fallen to their lowest level in 11 years, the Home Office has said.

Officers in the 43 forces stood at 131,837 at the end of September 2012, revealing a drop of more than 4,000 in a year – newly released figures show.

Policing Minister Damian Green said police reforms were working, crime was down and public confidence was up.

But Labour’s Yvette Cooper said cuts were making it harder for officers to “catch criminals and deliver justice”.

According to the figures – which are released twice a year by the government – police officer numbers are at their lowest since 2002 and have fallen by more than 12,500 since the coalition came to power.

Biggest drop

Dorset and Warwickshire, where police officer numbers fell 5.9 per cent to 1,337 and 5.9 per cent to 827 respectively, have seen the biggest drop.

Surrey was the only force where officer numbers have increased, with a 1 per cent rise of 20 officers to 1,981.

However, Surrey had intended to increase constable numbers after undergoing reductions between 2006 and 2009.

The number of police staff has also dropped by 3,406 to 65,992 – a fall of 4.9 per cent, according to the figures.

Figures for police community support officers fell by 1,070 to 14,411 – or 6.9 per cent – in a year, while the number of special constables, who are volunteers, saw a 1.3 per cent drop by 248 to 19,159. (BBC)

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