Officer cutbacks are over national average

Mr Lee with Home Secretary Theresa May last year

Mr Lee with Home Secretary Theresa May last year

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The number of Northamptonshire Police officers fell by 75 between September 2010 and September 2011.

Figures released by the Home Office yesterday show the number of officers serving the county fell by 5.6 per cent – one of the most severe cutbacks in the country.

The force also cut 152 police staff and six police community support officers (PCSOs).

Chief Constable Adrian Lee said: “Northamptonshire Police has had to reduce the number of police officers, staff and PCSOs.

“This is consistent with actions taken by the four other regional forces.

“The force has to reduce in size in order to achieve significant savings over the coming years, however we remain committed to doing that in a way that minimises the effect on front line services.”

The percentage of officers cut from county police was the seventh highest in the country – higher than both the East Midlands average of -5.4 per cent and national average of -4.2 per cent.

But Mr Lee said the force would be recruiting more officers in the coming months to counter this.

He added that officers returning from operations with other organisations would also increase numbers.

He said: “Like most forces, we had anticipated that officers seconded to other organisations, for example the National Police Improvement Agency, would return to the force.

“This has not yet happened, but when it does the number of officers in the force will rise accordingly.

“Even in light of the above, the force will need to recruit a small number of officers to ensure it retains appropriate officer strength.

“This will happen over the coming months.”

To further save money in response to Government cuts, Northamptonshire Police has 13.6 per cent fewer people in staff roles, in line with the regional average of -13.9 per cent.

The number of PCSOs went down by just 3.3 per cent but numbers are set to be hit hard by the county council’s plans to slash £4m from prevention services during 2012-13.