Thursday, July 21, 2011

UK government to cut 34,000 police jobs

Source: Press TV

Some 34,000 personnel, including thousands of officers, are to be axed from the UK police force by 2015 as a part of the British coalition government's planned cuts.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) revealed that about 16,200 police officers are to be dismissed by 2015 despite growing fears that crime could rise by three percent.

According to the survey of 43 forces in England and Wales, around 1,800 community support officers and 16,100 police staff will lose their jobs as a result of the government's 14-percent reduction.

British inspectors have insisted that protecting frontline policing would be very difficult in the next 18 months due to the government's cut plans.

The HMIC report stated that the forces would need to transform their efficiency if they want to protect frontline services.

"The police service must adapt to these changing times in order to deliver the best deal for taxpayers and they will need some support to do this," HMIC chief Sir Denis O'Connor said.

The UK police forces have been facing the biggest financial challenge in a generation, as the number of officers is to stand at its lowest level since 2001/02.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said that the police cuts demonstrated the "shocking and brutal reality" of the Con/ Lib Dem government's spending cuts.

She described the government's decision to sack 16,200 police officers, including 2,500 frontline officers, as an "irresponsible gamble" with the country's public security.

"Already we have lost 4,650 officers since spring 2010. These have included specialist firearms officers, experienced officers who have cut crime in their communities, and even officers who recently won national bravery awards,” Cooper noted.

She condemned earlier remarks made by British Home Secretary Theresa May, who claimed the cut plans would not affect the number of officers or frontline services.

"But the independent inspectorate's report shows that is wrong. Many forces have no choice but to cut frontline officers because of the scale and pace of the Government cuts," Cooper stressed.

"Theresa May has put chief constables up and down the country in an impossible position."

Meanwhile, in a parliament debate over the phone-hacking scandal, UK Prime Minister David Cameron insisted that the hacking crisis and police payments' allegations required "another, broader look at the whole culture of policing in this country.”

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