The number of Northamptonshire Police officers has fallen by more than 50 in the past year, latest figures have shown.
Data analysed by the Chronicle & Echo revealed that from December 2013 to the end of last year, the number of police officers decreased from 1,287 to 1,232.
We have also increased the number of officers who are on the frontline to ensure they are more visible in their communitiesAdam Simmonds
The amount of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) has increased slightly from 124 to 126, but the amount of police staff has gone down from 996 to 861.
Northamptonshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Adam Simmonds, has made a public commitment to maintain police numbers at 1,220 and is planning to recruit hundreds more Special Constables, the number of which has gone up from 263 to 410 in the past year.
But Gez Jackson, the chairman of the Northamptonshire Police Federation, said officers were having to “work their socks off” due to the fact they were doing a lot of the work that was previously completed by civilian staff.
He said: “Two to three years ago we were one of the few forces where the number of police staff outnumbered the number of officers and decisions have been taken to cut back on the number of police staff. It does mean that police officers have to spend more time doing administrative work which the back office staff used to do. This is impacting on the amount of time they can spend out on frontline duty.
“The PCC is doing what he can with the budget he has got, but I don’t think we will be able to stick to that minimum 1,220 number in the next few years.”
Mr Jackson said the ‘attrition rate’ – the number of officers leaving the force or retiring early – had also increased in the past few years.
Mr Simmonds said he was proud to be one of only five PCCs across the country to increase officer numbers during their time in office.
He said: “When I came into office, there were 1,220 officers in the force. I agreed with the chief constable to increase that number to cut down crime across the county.
“That surge in numbers has now naturally reduced as officers retire and some move on to other jobs, but the overall number of officers remains up during my time in office.
“We have also increased the number of officers who are on the frontline to ensure they are more visible in their communities, which we know has been welcomed by residents.”