Swingeing cuts to Cambs police force have left the “thin blue line” thinner than ever, new figures show.
According to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies, the number of officers, PCSOs and staff in the county will have fallen from 1,962 in March 2010 to 1,747 by March next year.
The number of police officers in frontline roles is expected to fall from 1,315 to 1,234 over the same period – a drop of nine per cent.
But, the report states that the proportion of frontline officers compared to the total number of staff will rise from 72 per cent to 76 per cent.
The fall comes as the force deals with the need to save £19.8 million between March 2011, and next March.
The inspectorate’s report, called Responding to Austerity, has been drawn up to find out how the force is coping with spending cuts caused by the Government’s economic squeeze.
It states: “HMIC considers that Cambridgeshire faces a particularly difficult financial challenge as it was already a low cost constabulary.
“It will find it harder to find further savings than many other forces.”
It spells out the extent of the problem:
• The county force has to save £4.9 million in 2014/15.
• It is looking to make further savings of £4.6 million in 2015/16.
• The size of savings after 2016 are not known but force chiefs forecast cuts to central funding of three to five per cent each year.
• The inspectorate gives the county force a “good” verdict in its response to austerity cuts.
• It points out recorded crime has fallen by 21 per cent between 2010/11 and now.
Cambridgeshire’s Police Commissioner Sir Graham Bright said: “The report confirms our approach is delivering good value for money – an effective service at low cost.”