THAMES Valley Police has lost more than 1,000 front line officers over the last three years, while violent crime has increased in the area.

The Police Federation say that a reduction in the "eyes and ears" of England and Wales's police services is causing communities to suffer.

Figures from the Home Office show that 1,013 officers, in roles categorised as 'visible operational front line', have been lost from the force between March 2015 and this year – a drop of 41 per cent.

Over the same period, the number of violent crimes recorded in Thames Valley increased by 59 per cent. In the 12 months to March this year, 34,482 violent crimes were recorded.

In total, there were 1,475 officers in visible front line roles this March. They include 400 neighbourhood officers, who are posted in the community to gather intelligence and provide help at the scene of crimes, and 709 incident response officers.

Across England and Wales, more than 7,000 visible front line officers have been lost over the last three years, a reduction of 11 per cent.

Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, John Apter, said: “Since 2010, we have lost more than 21,000 police officers with 80 per cent of those being taken from the front line.

“Neighbourhood officers represent the backbone of policing in this country – local officers who are the ‘eyes and ears’ of the service, providing a reassuring presence on the streets helping to detect and prevent crimes. As we lose neighbourhood officers we lose the vital investigative and intelligence-gathering roles they perform in our communities.

“The Government has to acknowledge that as violent crime increases, and with the ever-present threat of terrorism, the cuts to the service are coming home to roost and it is our communities that are suffering as a result."