Police face big cuts challenge
Some of the 43 police forces in England and Wales face a “big challenge” to make cuts without taking officers from the front line, the chief inspector of constabulary has warned.
Sir Denis O’Connor said two thirds of officers were directly involved in protecting the public and enforcing the law – although not all were visible.
Ministers say savings can and must be made while protecting the front line.
Police are losing a fifth of their central funding over four years.
The report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) sets out for the first time a definition of what constitutes front-line policing, amid a growing political debate about how chief constables should make cuts.
In the report, the HMIC says the front line comprises those who are “in everyday contact with the public and who directly intervene to keep people safe and enforce the law”.
It found that 68% of all police force staff in England and Wales were in such roles, but not all were visible. The HMIC estimates that 61% of police officers and community support officers work in visible front-line positions and that 12% of them are available at any given time.