Cuts in British government funding to the police services may result in the firing of 16,000 front-line police officers over the next four years, according to a study by Cardiff University.
Coincidentally, 16,000 officers were deployed across London recently to quell the rioting that swept the city.
The study by Cardiff's Police Science Institute said that the Government grant for local policing will decline by £1.36-billion, or 14 per cent, over the next four years.
The lead author of the report, Timothy Brain, the former Chief Constable of Gloucestershire, refutes claims by government ministers that the job cuts can be absorbed by ‘back-office’' efficiency savings, without compromising frontline services.
In the wake of last week’s chaotic rioting and looting in London and several other large cities, there are fears of what could happen in more such disturbances erupt without adequate police presence.
“[Government] ministers expect the brunt of such losses to fall in the so-called back office, but with as many as 16,000 police officer posts going, there is little prospect of the frontline being unaffected, “ Brain told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.
''The growth in police officer numbers since [2004-2005] has been principally to enable neighborhood, or community, policing. It is likely it will be in neighborhood policing where the greatest impact will be felt. Police services and officers' morale are both likely to suffer.”
Brain added: ''Ministers argue the police will be able to cope by concentrating resources - but you can only concentrate resources in one area by taking them from somewhere else.''
Brain also questioned the government’s assertion that 2.5-million 2.5-million police hours could be saved through “efficiencies.”
"Ironically, the most efficient forces will be hardest hit, as they have least room to make further efficiencies," he added.
"At the moment, it is hard to say precisely who is responsible for the severe cuts we face. If the Government is serious about a Big Society and greater public involvement in local issues, it must unravel the complexity surrounding police finance. We need to see the funding from all sources in an intelligible format."
The UK Home Office declared that it is committed to police job cuts in order to cut the deficit.
"The urgent need to take action to address our budget deficit is clear from events across the world right now,” said a spokesperson.
"The reductions in the police budget for the spending review period are manageable. There is no question the police will still have the resources to do their important work. At the end of this spending review period, the police will still have enough officers to deploy in the kind of numbers we've seen in the last week."