South Yorkshire Police said they spent $40 each on cardboard cutouts after the number of real-life officers shrank from 3,289 in 2008 to 2,900 last year due to budget cuts, The Mirror reported Monday.
"The rationale for buying them was based on research indicating previous success at reducing crime. It shows stores are working in partnership with the police to tackle retail crime and puts at the forefront of potential thieves' minds the issue that police may be nearby," a police spokesman said.
However, police said the cutouts have also been targeted by thieves who see them as collectibles.
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