Northamptonshire commissioner says frontline policing still a priority despite drop in figures

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Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Adam Simmonds, has defended his pledge to maintain frontline policing, despite figures showing the county has lost 100 constables and PCSOs.

The recent Home Office figures which give details from 2010 to the end of 2013, showed the number of police constables and community support officers in the county had decreased since 2010.

Councillor Julie Brookfield (Lab, Corby West), who sits on the Police and Crime Panel set up to scrutinise the work of the commissioner, believes the figures showed Mr Simmonds was failing to deliver on his election pledge to maintain ‘front line’ police numbers.

She said: “Under the Tories, we have lost 100 police officers in Northamptonshire. The thin blue line is being stretched ever thinner by the biggest police cuts since the Second World War.”

But the figures also showed that Northamptonshire’s overall officer levels had only dropped by two since the commissioner took over in 2012, from 1,454 to 1,452.

Mr Simmonds said the Labour group was skewing the figures, as his administration had employed 30 more constables since he took office. In February he launched a scheme to recruit 900 Special constables.

He said: “While nationally, 36 police forces saw a reduction in front-line officer numbers last year, Northamptonshire Police was one of the very few to have bucked this trend.

“I have been very clear that to make Northamptonshire the safest place in England, I will maintain and protect the number of officers employed by the force.

“In addition to this, I am determined to increase police visibility across the county with a massive increase in the number of special constables.”