Up to 300 more police officers are set to join Avon and Somerset Police this year after cuts are reversed. This comes as latest figures show the force lost another seventy officers from its roster over the past year. This means that compared to 2010 there are 655 fewer officers on the streets, leaving a total of 2,600.
These staffing cuts have allowed the force to make nearly £80 million in savings over ten years, therefore keeping pace with Government budget cuts. However, earlier this year, Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens, said the cuts had gone so far that: “there is no muscle, there is no fat, we’re now into the bone.”
Speaking in July she said: “Thanks to local people, Avon and Somerset Police has been able to restart an ambitious recruitment programme for police officers following a £1 monthly rise per household in the policing part of the council tax. The constabulary is now recruiting up to 300 police officers this year.”
The reduction in police officers numbers across the UK is now at its lowest level since 1996. Recently the Police Federation warned that policing in the UK is on the critical list. This statement has been backed up by national crime figures which show that there have been an 11% rise in recorded crime and a 19% increase in violent crime.
PCC Mountstevens is now asking voters if they would back an additional rise next year so “we can sustain officer and PCSO numbers at this increased level going forward.”