Planned government spending cuts in the United Kingdom will lead to the loss of at least 22,000 police jobs, leaving the public protected by the lowest numbers of officers since the 1970s, reports the Guardian. The estimate, which has been circulating privately among police chiefs, is much higher than previously known and means the number of officers in England and Wales could fall to nearly 100,000, down from the current 125,000.
Under a proposed budget from the newly elected Conservative government, police have learned that they could be in for cuts ranging from 25 percent to 40 percent. Police chiefs fear that the public does not appreciate the scale of cuts and what they will mean. An estimated 17,000 officers were eliminated in the last round of cuts under the Conservative-led coalition government between 2010-15.