Shrinking Humberside Police force is 'rising to challenge'
HUMBERSIDE Police has fewer officers than at any other time in its history.
The force has 1,831 police officers – the lowest number since it was established in 1974.
It also has 1,259 civilian staff, with many taking roles previously held by police officers.
More than 200 police officers have left since it was announced two years ago the force would have to cut £30m before 2015.
Assistant Chief Constable Stuart Donald said the force is facing challenging times.
He said: "With more than 3,000 people working for Humberside Police as well as hundreds of special constables and volunteers supporting local policing in their own time, it is our responsibility to make the very best use of what we have.
"This team has risen to the challenge of dealing with significant financial cuts and reform, and continues to face danger, arrest bad people and reduce crime.
"We are very proud of our people and we continue to ask them to do more and accept change.
"These are difficult times but I remain confident we have enough dedicated and professional people determined to do their very best."
The latest Home Office figures show the force had 1,831 officers in September last year – 70 fewer than the year before.
The figure is now likely to have fallen further.
The number of PCSOs had dropped by 14.
Meanwhile, the number of police staff employed rose by five and 27 more special constables – who have the same powers as warranted police officers but are volunteers – were taken on.
Humberside Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said the fall in numbers has left officers stretched.
Chairman John Blanchard said: "We are disappointed by any decline in numbers of officers, which clearly has an impact on what service we can provide to the public.
"We have the same level of demand and are doing the same work we always have done. That isn't just about crime, it is also about things like dealing with antisocial behaviour and having a presence on the streets.
"If we have fewer officers, it could affect our ability to maintain that reassuring presence on the streets."
Humberside police and crime commissioner Matthew Grove stressed the force has hundreds more police staff, police community support officers and special constables than it did ten years ago to deal with half as much crime.
He said: "While officer numbers are down, so is crime.
"An increase in the number of police staff undertaking tasks previously done by officers, has freed up those with warranted powers to make more effective use of their time and skills on the streets fighting and deterring crime.
"I aim to see this continue as part of my police and crime plan which will focus on achieving the best outcomes, not simply spending more public money."
Chief Constable Tim Hollis has previously said, of the 406 officers to leave the force between 2011 and 2015, only 133 posts would not be replaced by police staff.