Devon police numbers down by 10% in 5 years

Owl wonders how many extra police officers we could have if we abolished the office of Police and Crime Commissioner?

“There are almost 10 per cent less police officers on Devon’s streets than five years ago, new figures have revealed.

The number of neighbourhood officers employed by Devon and Cornwall Police is down by a huge 58 per cent during that period with local PCSOs down by 13 per cent.

During the five year period Devon and Cornwall suffered a net loss of 311 officers with there now being 367 fewer police on the streets than in 2012, according figures released by the BBC shared data unit.

Devon and Cornwall Police said that the reduction in numbers do not reflect the ‘wider police roles visible in our communities’.

Assistant Chief Constable Jim Colwell said: “There is no doubt policing numbers have seen a reduction in the last six years across many areas of the force.

“Supporting local communities with a visible neighbourhood policing presence remains critically important and a bedrock of policing in Devon and Cornwall.

“While the figures released may show a reduction in the number of dedicated neighbourhood staff, they do not demonstrate the number of wider police roles visible in our communities.

“Neighbourhood policing is part of every police officer and PCSO’s business, so also includes response officers, local investigation staff and other operational officers who are not reflected in these figures.”

ACC Colwell added: “The way in which we police our communities is evolving and officer’s roles and responsibilities need to change with this.

“As a force we are constantly assessing threat, harm and risk to our local communities and flexing our policing resources to meet these challenges and demands.

“We have been very honest and open with the public while making these changes and having to place greater resources in areas hidden from public view – such as child sexual exploitation and other online crime.

“Indeed, overall policing numbers in Devon and Cornwall are set to increase in the coming year to give an increased frontline presence across the entire force area.

“Within this is a firm commitment between ourselves and the Police and Crime Commissioner to maintain a dedicated neighbourhood policing model.”