County force faces big drop

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DERBYSHIRE police has suffered the biggest drop in officers nationwide, new figures show.

Home office statistics reveal the number of officers working for the police force fell by ten per cent over the past year.

The total number of officers in Derbyshire is 202 fewer than 12 months ago, down from 2,021 to 1,920.

But Mark Pickard, chairman of Derbyshire Police Federation, has questioned the figures and says the reductions include officers and staff who have transferred to collaborative units within the East Midlands.

He added: “The decrease had been skewed by the fact that officers in regional units have not been included in the force’s current figures and estimates that Derbyshire had actually lost nearer to five per cent of its officers.”

Home Office statistics show there were around 5,000 fewer officers in the 43 forces in England and Wales at the end of March this year compared to 12 months earlier.

Last month a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary revealed that the severe cuts to policing could leave some forces unable to provide a ‘sufficiently efficient or effective service’.

Nevertheless police minister Nick Herbert has reportedly claimed that service to the public was ‘largely being maintained’.