Forces 'will lose 10,000 police' as cuts hit home


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England and Wales will have 10,000 fewer police officers by 2013 as a result of reductions in force budgets, Labour Party analysis suggests. Planned job cuts announced so far by the country's 43 police forces amounted to 10,190 police officer posts and a further 10,146 police staff.

The Government has said it aims to avoid any reduction in the visibility and availability of police on the streets. It believes what matters is not the total size of the workforce but the effectiveness of its deployment.

But Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, said the job losses showed the "shocking and brutal reality" of the cuts. "Far from protecting frontline policing over 10,000 police officers are being cut in the next few years alone," she said.

Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: "The reality of the consequences of such harsh cuts to the front line is finally hitting home. We have in the past been accused of scaremongering when we voiced our very real concerns. We were not."

Ministers insisted that Labour would also have been forced to cut numbers if it had remained in power.

Nick Herbert, the Police minister, said: "Alan Johnson refused to guarantee police numbers, and Balls admitted he would cut force budgets by over £1bn a year. Despite officer numbers reaching record levels, only 11 per cent are visible and available to the public, not least because of Labour's red tape."