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How many police officers Devon and Cornwall have lost

How many police officers Devon and Cornwall have lost

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 7:30am 9th March 2019. (Updated at 8:09am 9th March 2019)

Devon and Cornwall have lost one in six police officers over the last decade, while violent crime levels have 'soared' in the area.

The Police Federation says that "society just isn’t as safe as it once was", and that the public are being let down by cuts to police forces.

The latest Home Office data shows that Devon and Cornwall Police had 2,975 officers in September, 54 more than they had a year earlier. It was the second consecutive year of increase.

But the number of officers is still significantly down on where it was in September 2010, when there were 3,526 – meaning a drop of 16% in eight years.

police 2

"Devon and Cornwall Police mirror the national picture whereby there has been a significant reduction of resources since 2010 and a significant increase in crime and other demands.

"The taxpayers of this force area have supported the Force as far as is possible and practicable and both I and my staff remain thankful to them and the Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez, for doing all that they can.

"Nonetheless, the force today, with just over 5000 people, is 1000 less than it was when we had greater demand and less serious and significant societal and individual harms.

"There are more than 500 officers less, over 150 PCSOs less and many hundreds of police staff colleagues. Additionally, due to the change in demand on policing, staff who were once visible to and reassuring for the public are now keeping the public safe yet are out of sight.

"Finally, the considerable benefits to the Treasury achieved through tourism and which is integral to our economy, receives no dividend to this force or our blue light partners or local government partners.

"As such, not only do the people of our two counties contribute to the economy and local services, they in turn subsidise those services in a disproportionate manner for others."

Devon and Cornwall Police Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer

police officer

Over the same period, the number of crimes recorded by police has increased .

In the 12 months to September 2010, 88,344 crimes were recorded by Devon and Cornwall Police – a figure which rose to 95,574 in the year to September, an increase of 8%.

The number of violent crimes recorded rose markedly, doubling over the period. In total, 32,394 violent crimes were recorded in Devon and Cornwall last year.

"Devon and Cornwall is the largest police force area in England, with a population that swells significantly in the summer months, and policing it effectively poses a challenge.

"Force strength hit a low of 2,924 in 2015, since I became police and crime commissioner the following year I have set a budget that enables the chief constable to increase officer numbers to 3100.

"I know from speaking to people, and through polling run by my office, that generally people are willing to pay more through their council tax as long as they see increases in police officer numbers. I'm pleased that while other forces are still having to make very difficult decisions in this area, this significant investment in people is being seen on the front line in Devon and Cornwall."

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner


Across England and Wales’s 43 police forces, the number of officers has dropped by 14% since September 2010. There were 122,000 last year.

Over the same period, crime increased by 11%, with 4.6 million incidents recorded in the most recent 12 months.

There were 1.3 million violent crimes recorded last year, nearly double the number in the 12 months to September 2010.

"We are ensuring the police have the resources they need to carry out their vital work.

"Our 2019-20 police funding settlement provides the most substantial funding increase since 2010 – around £970m including council tax.

"January’s quarterly crime statistics show that your chance of being a victim of crime remains low.

"But we accept certain crimes, particularly some of the most serious violent crimes such as knife and gun offences, have increased and we are doing everything possible to reverse the trend."

Home Office spokesperson

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