A police watchdog has raised "growing concerns" that local bobbies are being taken off the beat, as it warned some forces may struggle to cope with major crimes such as rioting or multiple murders in the next few years.
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found that neighbourhood teams are being stretched with extra work that keeps them in the office, and revealed a third of people had seen fewer police officers on patrol in the past year.
The watchdog also warned that the future of some smaller forces could be at risk in the next three to five years if recent methods used to slash budgets do not change.
Those with low police officer numbers and a low cost of policing per head were highlighted as being the most vulnerable, with Lincolnshire and Suffolk among forces deemed to be at risk.
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