Number of police officers falling but PCC promises to recruit more in future

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 August 2018

PCC Sue Mountstevens said it is 'no suprise' fewer officers are working across Avon and Somerset.

PCC Sue Mountstevens said it is 'no suprise' fewer officers are working across Avon and Somerset.

Archant

The number of police officers working for Avon and Somerset Constabulary has dropped in the past year.

Figures from the Home Office show a reduction in police officers across England and Wales to the lowest level since 1996 has led the police federation to warn ‘policing in the UK is on the critical list’.

MORE: Call to axe police’s council tax funding if force stops burglary investigations.

In March, there were the equivalent of 2,597 full-time officers in Avon and Somerset, a drop of 70 officers compared to March 2017.

The figures also show less time was being spent on frontline policing – 2,319 officers were available for frontline duties in March this year, down 130 from 2017.

Following a £1 monthly rise in the policing part of the council tax in April, the constabulary aims to employ up to 300 police officers this year.

The total police staff in Avon and Somerset, including police community support officers (PCSOs) and administrative staff, increased by 13 per cent over the past year.

PCSOs have fewer powers than police officers, but are more involved in community initiatives and more are being recruited this summer.

MORE: Fancy joining the police?

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said it is ‘no surprise’ to see fewer officers working for the force.

She said: “Thanks to local people, Avon and Somerset have been able to restart an ambitious recruitment programme for police officers.

“I am speaking to people about continuing with the £1 rise next year so we can sustain officer and PCSOs numbers at this increased level going forward.

“It’s no surprise to people there are fewer police officers on our streets, we’ve made nearly £80million of savings in the past eight years and this means there are 655 less officers.

“The challenge for me is to sustain the recruitment of officers within the funding we receive and sadly I need local people’s support to do this as there is not enough money from central Government to protect policing.”

In the police force area, recorded crime was up by one per cent while violent crime saw a four per cent increase.

Following a £1 monthly rise in the policing part of the council tax in April, it aims to employ up to 300 police officers this year.

The total police staff in Avon and Somerset, including police community support officers (PCSOs) and administrative staff, increased by 13 per cent over the past year.

A total of 137,455 crime incidents were reported in the force-wide area for the year ending March 2018.

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