'Fewer frontline officers' since coalition took office


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The Independent Online

Labour has attacked the Government for breaking its pledge to protect frontline policing after it was revealed that the number of officers dealing with 999 emergencies has dropped by more than 5,000 since the general election.

Figures released under freedom of information laws suggest the number of "first responder" officers is 5,261 down since the Coalition took office.

The Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, said the latest figures show David Cameron's insistence that frontline police had been unaffected by budget cuts was "bogus."

"Theresa May and David Cameron's decision to cut 16,000 police officers is causing huge damage to police forces, and it is communities who will ultimately pay the price," she said.

Devon and Cornwall police appears to have had the biggest cull, losing 540 "first responders" (25 per cent of its total) between March 2010 and last December.

Police Minister Nick Herbert insisted the Government is protecting the frontline, adding it was not all about "raw numbers".

He told Sky News: "It is appalling actually to suggest to people... that somehow if you dial 999, you are not going to get the same response from police. Where is the evidence for that?"