a SOUTH Yorkshire MP is calling for an end to police spending cuts after new figures revealed there are 89 fewer officers today than there were in September.
Rosie Winterton, who represents Labour in the Doncaster Central ward, spoke out after the Home Office published a new report on police officer strength across the country, which showed that South Yorkshire lost three per cent of its police officer posts between September 2010 and March 2011.
Police officers jobs are protected from redundancy by law, so the posts have been scrapped as a result of natural wastage, including retirements and transfers.
Last week it emerged that South Yorkshire currently employs 2,848 police officers, 2,064 civilians and 294 Police Community Support Officers.Police chiefs are being forced to shed posts because 83 per cent of the policing budget in South Yorkshire is spent on staffing costs and the Government has reduced the amount available for the force by £41 million over the next four years.
Ms Winterton said she fears police spending cuts will “undermine the fight against crime and anti-social behaviour”.
She added: “When crime starts to rise it is very difficult to turn the tide and squeeze it back down again.
“Already South Yorkshire has 89 fewer officers since September of last year – a move that will undermine the fight against crime and anti-social behaviour. It is a false economy to cut the police budget.
“Statistics from both the Home Office and the independent inspectorate show that the damage to policing from the Government’s 20 per cent cuts is even worse than we previously feared. Cutting 16,200 police officers, including 2,500 frontline officers by next year alone, across the country, is an irresponsible gamble with crime and public safety.
“The Government 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.”
Sheffield MP David Blunkett described police spending cuts as ‘very very bad news indeed’.
And he claims the number of police officer posts to be axed over the next few years would wipe out the additional 15,000 bobbies taken on during his time Home Secretary.