By Max Clarke

34,100 jobs are to being shed from across the UK’s 43 police forces as part the broader ‘Adapting to Austerity’ drive aimed at shaving 14% from their budgets.

Jobs losses have already begun, with more than 10,000, predominately back office workers having been cut.

The scale of the losses will likely see a 2% reduction in the number of officers, despite assurances from Home Secretary, Theresa May, that frontline services would be spared from cuts. Critics have blasted the plans, claiming crime will inevitably skyrocket, though Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary dispute this.

“We found authorities and forces are planning relatively modest cuts to frontline numbers this year, assured Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Mr Roger Baker, “and they had all set an ambition to reduce crime. But whether they achieve and sustain this is yet to be seen. To sustain this, most forces will have to transform their efficiency. Those forces that start the CSR period as the most efficient and those forces that face the greatest cuts will find this the most difficult.”

HMIC found that protecting the frontline will be very challenging over the next eighteen months as two thirds of the cuts to central government funding fall within the first two CSR years (2011/12 and 2012/13). Forces will have to transform their efficiency if they are to protect frontline services.

Estimated data at this stage from 42 police forces shows that they plan to cut frontline numbers by 2% between March 2010 and March 2012 with the rest of the workforce reducing by 11% over the same period. This suggests forces are making efforts to protect frontline roles. Data available limits assessment beyond March 2012, but if the cut to frontline numbers is to remain modest, the non-frontline efficiency would have to be transformed.

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