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Report: Budget cuts threaten the bobby on the beat

July 19, 2013 at 12:20 AM   |   Comments

LONDON, July 19 (UPI) -- Budget cuts mean police constables walking their beats are vanishing from British cities, towns and villages, a government report said Thursday.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary said more tasks are being loaded on bobbies, including responding to emergency calls and assisting in investigations, The Daily Telegraph reported. The agency's report said police forces are turning instead to unpaid special constables for traditional neighborhood policing.

"I have a genuine fear, and it is supported by this report, that as we move towards the end of the current spending review period and look forward to the next one, neighborhood policing will become the victim of significant cuts and in some areas will be lost altogether," said Irene Curtis, former chief superintendent in Lancashire and the current president of the Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales.

This week, crime was reported to have dropped to its lowest levels since 1981 in England and Wales, suggesting police cuts have not made the country more dangerous.

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