More than 10,000 uniformed police officer posts will disappear by the end of next year in England and Wales, Labour Party research suggests.
The coalition government has maintained that frontline jobs can be protected, despite the 20% police budget cuts by 2014-15 ser by the Comprehensive Spending Review.
But Labour Party research, which gathered figures from 42 police authorities in England and Wales – except the British Transport Police – suggests the party claims cannot be realised.
It says a total of 10,190 police officers are to be cut.
Shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, said: “Cutting so fast and so deep into police budgets is crazy. It is completely out of touch with communities across the country who want to keep bobbies on the beat.
“How do they think it helps the fight against crime to force so many experienced police officers onto their pensions or trained police community support officers on to the dole, leaving the rest of the force overstretched as a result?
“Chief constables are being put in an impossible position. They are working hard to fight crime, but the government is pulling the rug from underneath them.”
Based on October’s CSR, it is estimated 1,600 jobs could be lost across Wales’ four forces over the next four years.
South Wales Police alone faces a £47m funding gap over the four years, which equates to 688 officers and staff whose jobs could be lost.
Unison Gwent Police branch secretary, Linda Sweet, said last week that compulsory job losses look unavoidable. On Friday February 4, she predicted 350 jobs would be cut from the force.
At the end of January, Police Authorities Wales (PAW) agreed to collaborate in key areas to cut costs to try to maintain front line services.
Think tanks have warned that police cuts may have disastrous consequences. In January, Civitas said criminals are less likely to get caught, as police numbers are cut over the coming years.
The report, 2011: The start of a great decade for criminals? said “a nation with fewer police is more likely to have a higher crime rate”.
Similarly, the head of the Police Federation warned last September that proposed cuts would leave the public less safe. Paul McKeever, the federation’s chairman, said the most vulnerable in society would be worst hit, and predicted crime levels will go up.