The ranks of British police will be thinned by 14 percent by the year 2015, according to research from the Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).
That will result in the slashing of 34,000 police jobs across England and Wales – comprising 16,200 officers and 16,100 civilian staff.
The HMIC warned that there is relatively strong evidence that the reduction in police staffing will lead to an increase in some criminal offenses.
Forces will have to transform their efficiency if they are to protect frontline services, the report noted.
Sir Denis O'Connor, the chief of HMIC, stated: 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.
The City of London will be severely hit, with reductions of up to 19 percent in its gross revenue expenditure by 2015.
However, the elimination of police has already begun due to the country’s severe financial crisis and the imposition of budget cuts – according to figures from the Home Office, there are currently 139,110 officers in England and Wales - 4,625 less than in March of last year (a 3.3 percent decline).
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper is appalled by the magnitude of police job losses.
Cutting 16,200 police officers, including 2,500 front-line officers by next year alone, is an irresponsible gamble with crime and public safety, she said.
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. The Home Secretary [Theresa May] has said the cuts don't need to 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. [Theresa May] has put chief constables up and down the country in an impossible position.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg conceded the cuts will be incredibly difficult but assured that efforts will be made to try to minimize their impact on public safety.
[The report] makes it very clear there are a whole load of things you can do in terms of savings on bureaucracy, on backroom functions, to make sure you keep as many police officers out on the streets where people want to see them,” he told reporters in London.