THERE are almost 600 fewer police officers in Yorkshire than there were last year according to new figures which show the numbers nationally have fallen to the lowest level in nine years.
The Home Office has revealed there were 11,249 officers working across the region’s four forces in March this year compared with 11,835 12 months earlier – a fall of 586. This drop of five per cent is worse than the national average of 3.6 per cent.
West Yorkshire Police has seen the biggest fall in officers in the region being down 317 – 5.7 per cent – on last year leaving it with 5,219.
Humberside has had a 4.9 per cent drop with 96 fewer, leaving the force with 1,856 officers while South Yorkshire has had a four per cent fall leaving it with 117 fewer officers than in March 2011. The force now has 2,772. North Yorkshire had the lowest fall in officers with 3.9 per cent less than 12 months earlier. It has 57 fewer officers leaving it with 1,402.
The Home Office tables, published yesterday, also show how many police officers each force has per 100,000 head of population. Despite being the largest force West Yorkshire has the lowest figure in the region with 160 officers. In North Yorkshire it is 175, Humberside has 201 and South Yorkshire has 209.
Across England and Wales there were 134,101 officers in the 43 police forces at the end of March, more than 5,000 fewer than the previous year and fewer than at any point since 2003, the Home Office data showed.
The number of police staff was also down, dropping 8.8 per cent to 67,474, while the numbers of police community support officers also fell, down nine per cent to 14,393.
But the number of special constables – volunteers – rose 10.4 per cent to 20,343, the figures showed.
Only Surrey has seen an increase in its number of officers over the 12 months to March, rising 4.7 per cent from 1,885 to 1,974. The biggest drop came in Derbyshire, where numbers fell 10 per cent.
Policing and Criminal Justice Minister Nick Herbert said: “These reductions in officer numbers are in line with HMIC predictions as a result of necessary savings by forces who are playing their part in reducing the deficit.”
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said the Government has cut nearly 10,000 police officers from communities across the country with substantially more than half drawn from 999, neighbourhood and traffic response units.