Almost 90% of police officer posts axed in Lancashire as part of millions of pounds of cutbacks are police constables, it can be revealed today.
Tough Government cuts are expected to lead to 537 police officers being slashed by the end of next year.
Official findings released by the force show that, as of March this year there were 3,122 officers working for the force – 537 fewer than in March 2009.
It is the first time the figures have shown there the axe has fallen, with 384 PCs posts being axed – 89.9% of the overall total and a 14% reduction in PCs.
While not all PCs work on the front line, many constable posts involve beat work.
In addition, 35 sergeants and nine inspector posts have been lost in the cuts so far.
The number of chief insopectors has increased from 48 to 51. Superintendents have gone from 20 to 19. Stephen Rothwell, vice-chairman of Lancashire Police Federation, which represents the force’s rank-and-file officers, said: “The vast majority of them are on the front line. It concerns us..in particular the PCs because it is the PCs that are the first response for any call for assistance from the public.
“There does not seem to be an end. The Government seems to be attacking us for more and more and I really do sympathise with the chief and his team.”
Last year’s Comprehensive Spending Review required Lancashire Police to slash £43m from its budget over the following four years.
In addition to staff losses, 13 police stations are to be closed and a number of back office positions have been merged.
The police figures also show how the axe has fallen within police staffing numbers.
The figures show 193 police staff have been lost between March 2009 and March 2012. There are now 2,172 police staff members.
Supt Terry Woods, from Lancashire Constabulary said: “Every aspect of the Constabulary’s business has, and continues to be reviewed in order to achieve the necessary savings of nearly £43m.
“In reality we have cut a greater proportion of our supervision than police constable posts and whilst we need to continue to make very significant savings we are committed to investing in front line policing.
“It is our firm intention to make sure that in making any changes that we strike the right balance between finding savings and ensuring that we continue to protect the public from harm.”