Devon and Cornwall Police officer numbers 'to stay at 3,000'

Police officer and PCSO
Image caption Devon and Cornwall Police had faced losing 700 officers in four years

The number of full-time police in Devon and Cornwall is to be kept at about 3,000, the force's commissioner says.

Government savings targets had meant the force was facing seeing numbers shrink from about 3,500 in 2011 to about 2,800 by 2015.

Commissioner Tony Hogg said 120 people were being recruited a year, adding that the force had made £32m of savings in two years.

The force was told it needed to make £51m of savings by 2015.

New technology

He said: "We are recruiting 120 people a year to build officer numbers to above 3,000.

"We're also investing new technology so officers don't have to go back to the station to file a report.

"People will see that there is no fat in local policing."

The number of police community support officers (PCSOs) on the force was also to see a temporary increase, Mr Hogg's office said.

The force currently has about 350 PCSOs.

That was to increase by about 60 by the end of the year, before returning to its original level in about 18 months as a result of many going to become fully-fledged officers, staff said.

PCSOs have powers to issue fixed-penalty tickets for minor anti-social behaviour, to demand the name and address of a person, as well as confiscate alcohol, conduct road checks and seize vehicles.

Overall crime in the force's area fell by 6.7%, about 6,000 fewer recorded offences, in the year since April 2012.

Domestic burglaries were down by nearly 21% and vehicle crime dropped by more than 12%. Criminal damage offences fell by 14% and robbery fell by just over 16%.

Violent crime increased by more than 5% and reports of sex offences rose by 2.6%.

There were 13 homicides recorded in the year.

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said he was "encouraged" by the figures, but added there was "more work to do though, particularly around violent crime".

He said: "I have asked my senior officers to look at this area in detail and put in place plans to address this measure which I hope will begin to bear fruit next year."

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