HAMPSHIRE police are spending less on visible frontline policing than similar forces, a report shows.
A league table of police forces and how their budgets are being spent has been produced by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary.
The statistics compare Hampshire to areas with similar demographics – such as Sussex and Essex – and show that in 2015/2016 Hampshire Constabulary will be spending more than five per cent less on visible frontline policing – about £8.4m.
Some £1.5m less will be spent on frontline support.
But the figures show £7.1m more is being spent in Hampshire on non-visible frontline policing than similar forces.
Around five per cent more – around £2.8m – is being spent on business support than similar forces.
The statistics show Hampshire, on average, is spending £2.9m less on officers, £11.4m less on staff and £1.2m less on PCSOs.
By comparison, Sussex is spending £10m more than similar forces on visible frontline policing, but less on non-visible frontline work.
Figures released before the report show a reduction from 3,748 officers in March 2010 to 3,064 this year and police staff levels falling from 2,424 to 1,652.
John Apter, chairman of Hampshire Police Federation, said: ‘I would always say our priority should always be to maintain the frontline element of policing.
‘However, we must not get too focused on only frontline policing being good for policing – there are many parts of policing that are critical to the safety of the public, such as child sex exploitation and counter-terrorism.’
But he said league tables of policing could be often be misleading.
When compared nationally against all forces, Hampshire is slightly above average on the amount it spends on the front line.
Mr Apter said: ‘The reality is Hampshire is the fifth cheapest force to run.
‘We are battling with £80m-worth of cuts with the potential of more to come with the government treating the policing and the safety of the public with nothing but contempt.’
Faith Ponsonby, a Lib Dem councillor for Leigh Park, was concerned about the government cuts and the impact on frontline policing.
She said: ‘We need to have people out there talking to the community and knowing what is going on at the ground level.’