- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Categories: Feature, Media
FIFTY police officer posts and 165 staff positions at Dyfed-Powys Police have been axed between March 2010 and September 2011, new figures have revealed.
Mid and West Wales Assembly Member Joyce Watson said the figures came at a time when there had been a big increase in crimes such as sexual assault and robbery.
The Labour AM revealed the figures during a debate at the National Assembly in which she argued for an assessment of the impact of police spending cuts on crime levels in Wales.
The number of officers fell from 1,195 in March 2010 to 1,145 last September.
Mrs Watson said: “I am sure that no one is under any illusion about the sheer scale of cuts imposed by the Westminster Government.
“The steepest cuts have come in the first two years, making it even harder to make long-term savings.
“Figures show that we are seeing the biggest fall in the numbers of police in decades at the same time as we are seeing the biggest increase in crimes such as sexual assault and robbery.”
A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesman said: “Our chief constable will continue to be honest with the public and staff about the impact austerity measures will have on policing.
“During the financial crisis our priority remains protecting frontline resources as far as possible in order to safeguard our communities.
“Despite the difficulties there is some good news and we have taken on 36 new police officers and 23 police officer transferees; these are qualified police officers who have transferred to Dyfed- Powys Police from other forces.
“In addition, 74 new PCSOs funded by the Welsh Government will also join the force this year.
“However, we still face significant challenges in order to achieve the Government’s 20 per cent cost reduction targets but we’re working hard to continue to provide an effective and cost-efficient policing service to the public.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “As the independent inspectorate of constabulary has made clear, forces are planning to increase the proportion of the police workforce on the frontline.
“With some 25,000 officers and PCSOs in backroom posts, there is plenty of scope to make savings while protecting frontline policing.
“And by cutting bureaucracy we are saving 3.3 million police hours per year — equivalent to more than 1,500 police officers.”