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Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, commenting on today’s police service strength figures, and the report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, said:

“Today’s official statistics from both the Home Office and the independent inspectorate show that the damage to policing from the Government’s 20% cuts is even worse than we previously feared.

“Cutting 16,200 police officers, including 2,500 frontline officers by next year alone, is an irresponsible gamble with crime and public safety.

“Already we have lost 4,650 officers since spring 2010. These have included specialist firearms officers, experienced officers who have cut crime in their communities, and even officers who recently won national bravery awards.

“The Home Secretary has said the cuts don't need to affect the number of officers or frontline services. But the independent inspectorate's report shows that is wrong. Many forces have no choice but to cut frontline officers because of the scale and pace of the Government cuts. And forces which have already done well in cutting bureaucracy and getting more officers out on the street are actually being hit harder because they are having to cut more now from the frontline.

“Theresa May has put Chief Constables up and down the country in an impossible position.

“Crime fell for many years under Labour, but people want it to fall further. Right now the Government has no plan to cut crime, they are only cutting officers instead."

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