60,000 police jobs threatened by spending cuts

Study warns that 60,000 police officer and civilian posts could be cut by 2015.

Budget cuts in the police service could lead to 60,000 police officer and civilian posts being axed by 2015, a new study has suggested. Tim Brain, the author of the study and a former chief constable, said that under the worst-case scenario about 25 per cent of the total could be cut, with civilian posts probably hardest hit.

He said: "Probably forces would try and keep the number of police officers up, but that means you've got to lose more civilian staff - a lot more - because by and large the civilian staff cost less than police officers.

"Of course, it's important to emphasis that they don't do the kind of work that police officers do. They are contracted to do specific jobs that are largely but not exclusively non-operational."

He warned that significant spending cuts would soon be noticed by the public.

"When I joined the police service back in 1978, it was largely a response-orientated service. We could do some investigation, we could do some proactive patrol, but we largely responded," he said.

"In the last few years we've got used to seeing neighbourhood policing teams. We've got used to seeing officers in our localities, doing the kind of things that are important to local people. Now that's the bit of the service that has expanded most recently.

"If we start to lose that people would notice it very quickly; it would be back to largely a response-orientated police service, very different from the one that we've begun to enjoy and experience in recent years"

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has pledged to increase front-line policing despite the upcoming cuts but Brain said it was "difficult" to see how this was possible.