West Yorkshire Police has the highest share of officers on the front line, according to research released today (Sun) from the TaxPayers’ Alliance.
The force has 16.3 per cent of offices “visible and available” in the national league table propped up by City of London at 7.2 per cent.
Currently, the total police budget for England and Wales is £13.2 billion which supports the work of 149,000 police offices and community support officers - which equates to nearly £90,000 per officer.
The TPA says on average only 11.8 per cent of officers are visible and available to the public at any one time and they effectively each cost £792,851 a year.
Its report used data from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary comparing how many officers are available as a measure to determine the extent to which a police force can get officers out on the beat.
The TPA said with spending cuts it is vital that forces improve efficiency and the findings provide a benchmark for the new Police and Crime Commissioners who control budgets and set priorities.
Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “Many forces can do more to use their resources efficiently and get more of their officers out on the front line fighting crime.
“Of course, the police have important work that will sometimes legitimately stop them from being available for visible policing, but the large differences between forces suggests some are giving taxpayers much better value for money.
“Police chiefs must ensure budgets are spent effectively and minimise any unnecessary red tape that gets in the way of frontline policing.”
Report author Peter Cuthbertson said getting police back on the streets works at preventing and responding quickly to crime.
“The new Police Commissioners should devote more of their hefty budgets to front line policing and less to back office spending,” he said.