Almost 14,500 police jobs in just over a third of forces in England and Wales are to be lost, as police chiefs begin to assess the impact of over 20 per cent funding cuts announced by the Conservative-led government just four weeks ago.
The figures come from a survey by Labour’s shadow home affairs team, to be published by Ed Balls today when he gives evidence to a home affairs select committee inquiry on the spending review’s impact on policing.
According to the research, 16 out of the 43 police forces or authorities in England and Wales have made public statements announcing a total of 14,482 police staff jobs will be lost, including 6,257 police officers.
The final scale of the cuts over the spending review period will be significantly beyond this. The majority of police forces and police authorities have yet to make announcements about how many posts will be lost and some of the numbers announced so far relate to just one year only.
Ed Balls, Labour’s shadow home secretary, said:
“This research shows the huge impact that the Conservative-led government’s huge twenty per cent cuts to policing are already making.
“14,500 police jobs, including over 6,000 officers, are already set to go. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. The vast majority of police forces have not yet announced how many jobs will go and some of those which have are only currently putting figures on job losses for one year.
“The Prime Minister David Cameron and his Home Secretary Theresa May totally failed to stand up for the police in the spending review negotiations and now we are starting to see the consequences of that mistake.
“The police are taking a much bigger hit than other vital public services. The sheer speed and scale of these cuts – over twenty per cent and with the biggest reductions in the first two years - will hit the frontline hard and go way beyond what independent experts believe can be achieved from efficiencies and better procurement.
“At a time of rising public protest, an ongoing terror threat, the security challenge of next year’s Olympics and an expensive reorganisation of policing, these cuts are a reckless and dangerous gamble. They will undermine the fight against crime and take unnecessary risks with national security and the safety of our communities. The government should go back to the drawing board and think again.”
Police job losses already announced
(335 total: 100 police officers by September 2011, 235 police staff by March 2012)
“This is a challenging settlement for Cumbria…. the total number of police officers will fall to 1,150 by September 2011. This will be a reduction of 100 officers from our position in 2009/10. Some officers will be moved from support functions to frontline policing. We have reduced the number of senior and middle management roles. The overall reduction in the number of officers will be achieved through natural wastage.
“The police staff establishment will drop to 600 by March 2012 - a reduction of 235 posts from March 2010. Work has been taking place for some time to identify how we can reduce the number of police staff posts, with 20 redundancies having already taken place. There are a number of consultations currently underway with staff and there will be a further 140 posts lost in 2011/12 (based on the equivalent of an average salary). The Constabulary, where possible, works with staff to progress voluntary redundancy. At risk staff have also been re-deployed into compatible essential roles that have become available following the external recruitment freeze. However, re-deployment is not always possible and compulsory redundancy will continue to be used.”
Statement by Chief Constable Craig Mackey, 21 December 2010, http://www.cumbria.police.uk/news/latest-news/budget-challenges-for-cumbria-police
Devon and Cornwall
(1075 total: 700 police officers and 375 staff)
“Devon and Cornwall Police are facing a deepening financial crisis which will further drain frontline resources after the Government slashed funding for rural forces... The force announced in October that it would have to cut 1,000 staff – 700 from its complement of 3,500 officers and 300 from its 2,200 civilian workers – after the Government's spending review slashed £44 million from the force budget. That figure has now been revised to £47 million and the number of police staff cuts has risen to 375. In an internal message, seen by the Western Morning News, Mr Otter told staff said: "We are pleased to finally have this level of detail from the Government which will allow us to plan our resources over the next four years. However, we are disappointed that the settlement appears to be even worse than we had anticipated it would be. At this stage we haven't been able to clarify the full detail from the figures, but the cuts are certainly deeper than we had originally been planning for."
Western Morning News quoting Chief Constable Stephen Otter, 15 December 2010, http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/news/Shock-police-cuts-bite-deeper/article-3007122-detail/article.html
“Durham Police Authority has today announced a number of job losses which will result in 77 full time job losses for Police Staff which equates to 86 staff once part time working is taken into account. This will cover a number of areas including Training, CID, Leisure Centre staff, Personnel, Front Counter Clerks and clerical staff. Peter Thompson, Chairman of Durham Police Authority said: ‘This is a very sad day for Durham and Darlington and this has been a difficult decision to take. It is clear however that these redundancies are as a direct result of the Government reducing our funding. We would not be making staff redundant otherwise. Whilst any compulsory redundancies are unfortunate, forward planning by the Force and Authority and the introduction of a number of initiatives, means that numbers of redundancies that we have agreed is significantly less than was originally anticipated. I want to stress that we are not making Police Officers or Police Community Support Officers redundant.’ ”
Statement by Durham Police Authority & Durham Constabulary, 17 December 2010,
(250-350 posts: no breakdown)
“Cuts of this magnitude will inevitably alter the way in which policing services are delivered in future… The savings target is enormously challenging and will inevitably mean there will have to be a greater focus on threat to life issues and core policing rather than some of the other things which the Force have been able to do in the past. Taken together the cuts are likely to result in job losses of between 250 and 350 and this scale of budget reduction cannot be delivered without a significant reduction in the number of police officers employed. Despite our best endeavours as an Authority, today’s announcement means that there will inevitably be further job losses (we have already taken over 70 posts out of our establishment) and we cannot rule out the possibility of redundancies.”
Statement from the Chair of the Police Authority, Delyth Humfryes http://www.dyfedpowyspoliceauthority.co.uk/en/news/2010/18/
(15 per cent fewer police officers by 2013, 30 per cent reduction in police staff by 2013 – based on most recent figures this is equivalent to around 190 fewer police officers and 292 police staff/PCSOs a total of some 482 posts)
“While we cannot make police officers redundant, officers are leaving all of the time due to retirement and we do not anticipate recruiting any new PCs in the foreseeable future. This means we will have around 15 per cent less police officers by 2013, and we expect to see a 30 per cent reduction in police staff over the same period.”
Statement by Chief Constable Tony Melville, 13 December 2010, http://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/Latest%20News/Press%20Releases/2010/December/item19601.html
(2944 total: 1387 police officers, 1557 staff)
“Plans to cut almost 3,000 posts from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) have been backed by the police authority. Members voted to axe 1,387 officer and 1,557 civilian posts between now and 2014/15, a 23% reduction in staff, to save £134m from the force's budget. Officer numbers will be reduced through natural wastage, a recruitment freeze and forced retirement for those with more than 30 years' service.”
BBC Online, 22 November 2010, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-11812308
“There will be a reduction in frontline police officer numbers”.
Report from Greater Manchester chief constable to Greater Manchester Police Authority, 22 November 2010, http://www.gmpa.gov.uk/documents/1112_SFO_Implications_for_future_policing_services_v2.doc
(1,500 total: 1,000 staff and 500 police officers)
“Kent Police Authority, the budget holders for the force, will continue to work towards a reduction of 20 per cent, £50million, over the next four years. It’s likely to affect 1,000 staff jobs and 500 police officer posts.”
Statement by Kent Police Authority, 21 December 2010, http://www.kentpoliceauthority.gov.uk/news/government-grant-for-kent-in-line-with-budget-cut-plans
(280 total: 200 police officers and around 80 police staff by March 2011)
"To date, the Police Authority has already approved over £4 million worth of in year savings in 2010/11 and a further £12.88 million of cuts (4% of the annual budget) in preparation for this settlement period. This will result in a reduction of 200 police officers and around 80 police staff by March 2011. In addition to this, Merseyside Police Authority has a timetable for considering further cost cutting options but clearly the savings required by this settlement will provide both the Chief Constable and the Authority with major policing challenges in the years ahead."
Statement by Merseyside Police Authority Chair Cllr Bill Weightman, December 2010, http://www.merseysidepoliceauthority.gov.uk/4news/mpa-responds-to-the-government-grant-allocation.html
(1,000 police officers in one year)
“London will have over 1000 fewer police officers next March than in March 2010…. Even before the final grant allocation is made, it is clear that the MPS will have fewer officers next year than had previously been planned. Target officer strength at 31 March 2011 is over 1,000 (three per cent) lower than the number of officers (excluding Special Constables) twelve months earlier. This reduction is being achieved through the implementation of a freeze on the recruitment of police officers. Target officer strength beyond March 2012 are not yet known but there is currently no plan to lift the recruitment freeze so officer numbers will continue to decrease as officers leave the force.”
Pre-Budget Report by the London Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee, 2 December 2010, http://www.london.gov.uk/who-runs-lun-london/publications/pre-budget-report-2010
(640 total: 350 police officers, 60 PCSOs, 230 staff)
Norfolk Constabulary has already identified £28million of the estimated funding gap mainly through reductions in officers and police staff from a four-year moratorium on recruitment. This is the equivalent of about 350 police officer posts, 60 PCSO posts and 230 civilian posts.
Statement by Norfolk Constabulary, October 2010, http://www.norfolk.police.uk/newsevents/newsstories/2010/october/chiefspleatomps.aspx
(440 total: 230 police officers, 210 staff)
“One in seven bobbies face the axe in a radical proposal to overhaul the entire way North Wales Police operates. A major consultation document published yesterday sets out how the force proposes to adapt to an expected £22.6m (20%) cut in its funding over the next four years. The figures will make grim reading not only for officers and staff, but also the public – who the force admits will suffer from a reduced service. Around 230 out of the region’s 1,600 uniformed officers could be culled, says the document, released by North Wales Policing Authority. A quarter (210) of the force’s 840 civilian staff will also go, and a huge question mark hangs over the future of the region’s 160 PCSOs (police community support officers) if the government cuts the grant that funds them.”
Daily Post, 19 November 2010, http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/2010/11/19/one-in-seven-officers-face-the-chop-in-north-wales-police-rstructure-55578-27679213/
(450 civilian staff)
“Northumbria Police will lose 450 civilian posts in the face of Government budget cuts, Chief Constable Sue Sim said today. The top officer said the North East force expects to lose GBP34 million from its funding as a result of the spending review.”
Press Association, 22 November 2010, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/450-civilian-jobs-to-go-at-northumbria-police-2140960.html
(800 total staff, no breakdown)
"We have worked with police authority colleagues to develop a productivity strategy and over £47m of savings have been identified. The paper presented to the authority suggested that over 800 posts will go over the four year period - about 10 per cent of the workforce."
Thames Valley chief constable Sara Thornton, BBC Online, 1 December 2010, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-11887996
(450 total staff, no breakdown)
“Deputy Chief Constable Andy Parker said an early review of the force's finances indicated it needed to reduce its budget by £22m over four years, instead of an estimated £13.4m. Proposals to address the funding gap will be given to the police authority over the next months, he said. He was reacting to the government's announcement which gave details of a series of funding cuts to councils. "While it is not possible to provide a definitive figure on future workforce levels, as we still have more work to complete our buildings, fleet, IT and other non-staff costs, we do know that our workforce will need to reduce in size by around 450 people during the next four years," he said. "We will be doing everything we can to minimise the number of people we lose." “
Statement by Deputy Chief Constable, BBC News Online, 14 December 2010, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-11995333
(2,200 total: 1100 police officers, 1100 staff)
“The axe is to fall on 2,200 police officer and staff jobs in the West Midlands as a result of budget cuts demanded by the Government, Chief Constable Chris Sims has revealed. The number of job losses is a little higher than politicians and workers first feared and will see West Midlands Police lose about 15 per cent of its workforce… Mr Sims said: “From the information that we know… it will be about 2,200 police officers and staff.”
Birmingham Evening Mail, 22 November 2010, http://www.birminghammail.net/news/top-stories/2010/11/22/2-200-jobs-to-be-axed-at-west-midland-police-97319-27689472/#ixzz16xmHlLO6
(1500 total: 500 officers, 1000 staff)
“We have already started the process of reducing headcount. We have not recruited since the summer of 2010, either Police Officers or Staff. We will not be recruiting in 2011. That will mean about 8 or 900 natural leavers in that time will not be replaced. Natural leave will play a big part in helping us to reduce headcount although it won’t achieve what we do need by way of savings in the first two years. In the first two years (because the budget savings have been frontend loaded in the Government requirement) we will probably be looking at about 300 or so enforced redundancies. I predict that, at the end of the four year savings window, there will be about 500 fewer Police Officers that we had at the start of 2010 and up to 1,000 fewer Support Staff. Please note, however, that natural leavers over the 4 years reflects the means of achieving these targets with about 300 enforced redundancies amongst Police Staff in the first two years of that programme.”
Letter from Sir Norman Bettison, chief constable of West Yorkshire Police, 17 December 2010