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Page last updated at 07:47 GMT, Wednesday, 30 March 2011 08:47 UK

Police frontline cuts 'depend on the force'

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Some of the 43 police forces in England and Wales face a "big challenge" to make cuts without taking officers from the front line, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary has warned in a report for the government.

Earlier in the programme the Chief Inspector Sir Denis O'Connor said it would be "very difficult" for forces to make cuts without the number of officers falling.

Reacting to the report, Lancashire's Chief Constable Steve Finnigan said that they could "do an awful lot" to reduce costs of back office staff and bureaucracy, "but we cannot leave the front line untouched".

In response, police minister Nick Herbert said that dealing with the cuts was "not a numbers game", as it was as much about what police officers do as how many there are.

But pushed by Justin Webb on whether cuts in numbers of frontline staff were inevitable, he said that they were not. Police forces could chose to maintain their "visible" presence despite the cuts, he said.


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