In a damning indictment of community policing, one in four people has never seen a bobby walking the beat.
The British Crime Survey discovered that 55 per cent of the public had seen police officers or police community support officers walking the beat at least once a month.
But this fell to one in seven, or 14 per cent, when they were asked if they see officers on a daily basis.
And 25 per cent said they had not at any stage seen either a fully-fledged police officer or PCSO on the beat.
One of the most common demands from members of the public is for more officers on the beat to provide reassurance that they are being protected from thugs and burglars.
But Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary said recently that fewer than one in ten uniformed officers in some forces are available to man the front line at any one time.
Police spending almost doubled, from £7.72billion in 1998/1999 to £14.55billion a decade later. The number of officers increased from 124,756 in March 1998, to a peak of around 141,000.
But, while officer numbers were increasing dramatically, the proportion of time an officer actually spends on patrol fell, from 15.3 per cent to 13.8 per cent.
Police budgets are being cut as part of the Government’s austerity measures – with forces threatening to axe around 16,000 police officers.
Last night Roy Rudham, chairman of the UK Neighbourhood Watch Trust, said: ‘It has always been a concern of people that they do not see police officers on the street and with the cuts being implemented the likelihood is they will see even fewer officers.
‘That will especially be the case if crime goes up and police resources are stretched to the absolute limit.’
The survey also found that only 4 per cent had used the online crime maps introduced by the Home Office to give people a greater idea of crime levels on their street and to increase police accountability.
Antiquated shift patterns, court hearings and training requirements mean that in two forces – Bedfordshire and Devon and Cornwall – only 9 per cent of officers can actually tackle crime, it said.
MIC is predicting the loss of 16,100 officers by 2015, along with up to 1,800 community support officers and 16,100 civilian staff, because of budget cuts.
This would be achieved by getting police out from behind their desks. Critics say repeated promises by Labour to cut red tape failed to deliver.
Err… only 9-per cent are available?
Derr… of course!
Imagine a large force with say, 10,000-officers.
At least 1000-will be senior staff/restricted officers, another 1000 will be officers you don’t see anyway (custody, SSU, FSU, PPU, VPS etc).
This leaves 8000-out of those 8000-about 2000 will be local and force CID-giving 6000 or so for response and beat men.
In a standard 4-shift system, only one shift is on duty at any one time eg. Early shift is working- nights will be in bed and lates will be getting read to come in.
The NHT in my force do two shifts- early 0800-1800 and lates 1200-2200hrs… so half of them are off at any one time…
This means that in a force of 10,000- officers only a 2000-NHT will potentially be on duty and about 500-response officers are available…
This is without sickness, annual leave, abstractions etc…
Now, when you see that forces like West Mercia have about 3500-officers you can see that the chances of you being in the same road at the same time as a beat man is VERY small.
What I think is interesting is the readers of the DM have soundly attacked the headline- the first few pages of comments are damning…
Imagine what it will be like when these cuts REALLY bite? My force will be down by 20% of it’s numbers by the time it’s all over…
Add to this some of the factors I mentioned in my other post about the time spent in the custody block and typing up stuff for CPS… that reduces the pool even more…