Number of Humberside Police officers drops to lowest level ever
HUMBERSIDE Police has fewer officers than at any time in its history.
The force has 1,831 police officers – the lowest number since it was established in 1974.
More than 200 officers have left since it was announced two years ago it would have to cut £30 million before 2015.
Assistant Chief Constable Stuart Donald said the force was facing challenging times.
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"With more than 3,000 people working for Humberside Police as well as hundreds of special constables and volunteers supporting local policing in their own time, it is our responsibility to make the very best use of what we have.
"This team has risen to the challenge of dealing with significant financial cuts and reform, and continues to face danger, arrest bad people and reduce crime.
"We are very proud of our people and we continue to ask them to do more and accept change.
"These are difficult times but I remain confident we have enough dedicated and professional people determined to do their very best."
The latest Home Office figures show the force had 1,831 officers in September last year – 70 less than the year before.
The number of PCSOs had dropped by 14.
Meanwhile, the number of police staff employed rose by five and 27 more special constables – who have the same powers as warranted police officers but are volunteers – were taken on.
The force now has 1,259 police staff, with many taking roles previously held by officers.
The Humberside Police Federation, which represents officers, said the fall in numbers has left officers stretched.
Chairman John Blanchard said: "We are disappointed by any decline in numbers of officers, which clearly has an impact on what service we can provide.
"We have the same level of demand and are doing the same work we always have done. That isn't just about crime, it is also about things such as dealing with antisocial behaviour and having a presence on the streets.
"If we have fewer officers, it could affect our ability to maintain that reassuring presence."
Humberside police and crime commissioner Matthew Grove said the force has hundreds more police staff, police community support officers and special constables than it did ten years ago to deal with half as much crime.
He said: "While officer numbers are down, so is crime.
"Over recent years an increase in the number of police staff undertaking tasks previously done by officers, has freed up those with warranted powers to make more effective use of their time and skills out on the streets fighting and deterring crime.
"This has resulted in an increase in public confidence in the police, which is no accident. I aim to see this continue as part of my police and crime plan that will focus on achieving the best outcomes, not simply spending more public money."
Chief Constable Tim Hollis has previously said, of the 406 officers to leave the force before 2015, 133 posts will not be replaced by police staff.