Police officer numbers fall as budget cuts hit force

The number of police officers helping to keep South Tyneside's communities safe has dropped by hundreds as the impact of budget cuts hit.

Wednesday, 31st January 2018, 5:08 pm
Updated Wednesday, 31st January 2018, 5:10 pm
Police officers on patrol

New figures show that Northumbria Police has 3,288 officers at the last check, compared to 3,920 back in 2012.

The details come as part of an analysis which has taken a look at the impact of staffing levels, focusing on neighbourhood policing.

The latest figures show the level of policing in the region.

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The numbers show that of the total number of officers it employed last year, 486 were neighbourhood officers, with the total of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) was 162.62 and of those, 152.97 were neighbourhood PCSOs.

Compared to 2017, there has been a reduction of -632.25 or -16.13% in the overall figure of officers across its ranks.

In neighbourhood officers has fallen by -96.70 - which equates to -16.49% - and the difference in neighbourhood officers and PCSOs is -363.67 or -36.14%.

The difference in neighbourhood PCSOs in isolation between those years stands at -63.57%.

The latest figures show the level of policing in the region.

The data, complied by the BBC, also show the number of officers per 1,000 people stood at 0.44, with a population, as of 2016, of 1,444,480, with the force placed 18th in the list of 48 across the country in terms of its staffing.

In response to the figures, a Home Office spokesperson said: “The independent Office for National Statistics is clear that overall traditional crime is continuing to fall, and is now down by almost 40% since 2010, while fraud and computer misuse - the most commonly experienced crime - has reduced by 15% in the past year.

“We know the nature of crime is changing, and we’ve spoken to every police force in the country to understand the demands they are facing.

“In December, we set out a comprehensive settlement to strengthen local and national policing, which will mean police funding will increase by up to £450 million next year.

“We are clear that effective local policing needs to be about more than just visibility in isolation.

“With crime increasingly taking place behind closed doors and online it is also about safeguarding vulnerable groups or individuals and giving the police the powers they need to deal with emerging and hidden crimes.”

The department added the police workforce has remained stable over the past year following on from the Government’s decision to protect police funding at the 2015 Spending Review.

The Provisional Funding Settlement will increase funding by up to £450 million across the police system for 2018/19, which will include up to £270 million increase in police force budgets.