Bobbies spend under ten percent of time on the beat

By Ian Dipple Friday 04 January 2013 Updated: 04/01 09:00

CALLS have been made for police bosses to put more bobbies on the beat after research revealed officers are spending less than ten per cent of their time on the streets.

Warwickshire Police has just 8.7 per cent of officers and PCSOs 'visible and available' to the public at any one time - the second lowest in the country. It means for every £10million spent by the force it has 8.2 officers on the beat with an average cost for each officer of over £1.2million.

In West Mercia the figure is slightly higher with 12.6 per cent of officers on the beat with almost 14 available for every £10million spent, at an average cost of £722,589.

The figures were released by the TaxPayers' Alliance, using data from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, called on police chiefs to ensure they were cutting unnecessary red tape getting in the way of frontline policing.

"Of course the police have some important work to do that will sometimes legitimately stop them being available for visible policing, but the large differences between forces suggests some are giving taxpayers much better value for money."

A spokeswoman for Warwickshire Police said they recognised visibility was important to the public and they tried to maintain visible and available officers, PCSOs, and special constables at key times.

"We always use all our resources available to reduce death, injury, loss, fear and distress and we do, and will continue to, focus our effort against those who cause the most harm to communities and on areas of the county most affected by crime and disorder."

A West Mercia Police spokeswoman added not all officers would be visible to the public while on duty and many did not carry out traditional 'bobbies on the beat' roles, such as CID officers working on a murder investigation in an incident room.

"We recognise there is a popular view police visibility lowers crime levels, however day to day experience shows crime falls for a wide variety of reasons and officer visibility is just one of the tactics available to help drive crime down."

Both forces also pointed out crime had fallen. In Warwickshire there were 2,000 fewer victims of crime between April and September last year and in North Worcestershire crime was down 19 per cent in the current financial year with 2,798 fewer offences.

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