Concerns Over Shortfall Of Police Officers in Cambridgeshrie

PUBLISHED: 12:26 26 January 2009 | UPDATED: 10:43 04 May 2010

CONCERNS have been raised over a shortfall of 600 police officers in Cambridgeshire.

The police authority is currently holding a series of meetings with residents across the district to discuss the shortage and also restrictions in government funding.

The

CONCERNS have been raised over a shortfall of 600 police officers in Cambridgeshire.

The police authority is currently holding a series of meetings with residents across the district to discuss the shortage and also restrictions in government funding.

The 'touring presentations' as they are called will report on how Cambridgeshire Constabulary has the third lowest number of police officers per head of population in the country, with just one officer for every 540 people.

That leaves the force almost 200 down on the national average, of one officer for every 377 people.

County-wide the force has 1,400 police officers, but to reach the national average it needs to recruit a further 600.

The figures come from a Cambridgeshire Police Authority presentation to be shown at community panel meetings, the first of which was the Wisbech and district meeting in Elm earlier this month.

A spokeswoman for Cambridgeshire Police Authority said: "We have a statutory duty to consult people about 'matters concerning policing'.

"We want to ask our communities what they believe is important in policing and are asking attendees at neighbourhood panels whether they think we've got our priorities right."

The presentation also details an increase of more than 150 per cent over eight years in the amount claimed through Council Tax. In 2008/2009 the force claimed £42million through its precept - compared to just £16.5million in 2001/2002.

Government funding, however, has increased just 16 per cent in the same period - from £67.6million to £78.6million - and is set to be further limited for the next two years with predicted increases of three per cent.

The presentation also highlights that crime reduced by 15 per cent last year; and that the number of prosecutions increased by eight per cent.

Fenland and Wisbech councillor David Oliver, who chaired the panel meeting where the presentation was first aired, said: "Again Cambridgeshire is the one missing out and it is concerning.

"But the statistics they presented about response times are very good and the force should be commended for the job they do with the lack of resources.

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