Two of the region's police forces among best in the country for "visible and available" police officers

TWO of the region’s police forces have among the best records in the country for putting bobbies on the beat at the cheapest price, according to a survey.

Both Cleveland and Northumbria Police scored highly for having among the highest numbers of “visible and available” police officers on the frontline.

The survey was compiled by campaign group the Taxpayers’ Alliance which is trying to put pressure on newly elected Police and Crime Commissioners to focus resources on the frontline policing.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance investigated the time each force had officers visible to the public, for example by making street patrols, and calculated how much the taxpayer was paying just for that part of police officer time. The Alliance claims that nationally less than 12 per cent of police officer time is visible to the public.

According to the campaign group the average cost of putting a bobby on the beat is £800,000.

However Nothumbria Police has the best record in the country with the average cost for each “visible and available” police officer costing £475,459, or 21 police officers visible and available for every £10m spent. Cleveland Police has the third best record with each visible police officer costing £539,186, or 18.5 officers for every £10m spent.

Durham Police comes closer to the national average with £781,322 for each visible and available officer, or 12.8 officers visible to the public for every £10m spent. North Yorkshire spends £667,988 for each visible officer, or 15 officers for every £10m.

Barry Coppinger, newly election Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland Police, pointed out that a lot of important police work is not visible to the public, but said: “The maintenance of frontline policing will continue to be a priority. All the consultations I’ve undertaken suggests very firmly that’s what the public wants and that will inform the Police and Crime Plan.

“It is going to be extremely difficult to deliver the 20 per cent cuts the Government wants by 2015 but we’ll be making every effort to maintain that frontline service.”

Commenting on the research, Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “Of course the police have some important work to do that will sometimes legitimately stop them being available for visible policing, but the large differences between forces suggests some are giving taxpayers much better value for money.”

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