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540 Police Taken 'Off Front Line'

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7:01am 12th March 2012

It is claimed the number of police answering 999 calls in Cornwall and Devon has plummeted.

Labour says numbers are down by five hundred and forty since the election. That is a quarter of its officers.

David Cameron has repeatedly insisted frontline policing would not be affected by cuts to budgets.

But shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, who uncovered the latest details, said they showed his claims were "bogus".

She told Sky News' Murnaghan programme the figures were "shocking".

"Personal crime such as theft [and] robbery has already gone up by 11%. I think that is worrying for people across the country," she said.

"Especially if they now worry that officers will not be able to reach them as fast, that the response will not be as strong because of the scale of the cuts the Government is taking."

But Policing Minister Nick Herbert accused Labour of scaremongering and insisted crime figures were going down under the coalition.

He told Murnaghan: "I think the very telling thing about Yvette Cooper's interview was that she was trying to claim that all of this meant crime was going up.

"But the inconvenient truth for Labour is that is simply not the case.

"In fact the official figures show that crime is falling, that the majority of forces are continuing to deal with crime effectively - even as they are dealing with reduced budgets."

In a statement Devon and Cornwall Police said, "The number of general response officers has reduced by just over 500 officers, however they have not all been removed from frontline policing. Officers were redeployed into both crime and neighbourhood policing.

"These local officers continue to be available to respond to calls and to maximise our visibility on the streets. The remaining response officer posts have created dedicated response teams of experienced officers who are deployed to provide an emergency service to the public of Devon, Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly.
"Performance figures have shown that over the last year we have improved the time in which we get to calls despite reducing officer posts as a result of restructuring the organisation."
7:01am 12th March 2012

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