NEW figures showing West Mercia Police has the second lowest rate for bobbies on the beat have been branded as ‘extremely concerning’.

Research by The Sunday Times revealed the force has an average of 8.5 frontline police officers per 100,000 population, with only Sussex Police having lower.

The force’s own figures show 1,930 officers were employed in the first quarter of this year compared with 2,071 in 2017.

PCSOs have been reduced from 240 to 234, special constables from 409 to 324 while police staff have been cut from 1,776 to 1,654.

Additionally, Home Office figures show 90 'visible operational front line' officers have been lost between March 2015 and this year.

Bromsgrove MP and Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, whose office is responsible for policing, said the force will receive a funding boost of £4.6 million in 2018/19, with Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion planning to recruit 100 new officers.

But in his annual Force Management Statement, chief constable Anthony Bangham said a further £24.3 million savings need to be made in the next three years on top of £67.4m made during the last six financial years.

Labour leader at Worcestershire County Council cllr Robin Bunn called the figures ‘extremely concerning’.

He added: “It is an absolutely vital people feel safe in their communities and you cannot just keep on cutting and cutting on the front line.

“I feel immense sympathy for front line police officers who simply don't have the person power to provide the service that the public needs and is entitled to by the taxes we all pay.

“It makes people feel less safe and less confident that any crime they are the victim of will be solved."

PCC John Campion said policing is 'more complex than just police officer numbers'.

He added: “Modern policing is about understanding crime and its causes, and using the public’s resources more effectively and efficiently to deal with it."

Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid added: “The police are absolutely integral to keeping our communities safe.

“Our strong and comprehensive settlement is significantly increasing total investment in the police system, and West Mercia will see a direct resource funding boost of £4.6m in 2018/19.

“We recognise, though, that the nature of crime is changing and the challenges faced by police officers are changing with it.

“That’s why the Policing Minister has spoken to every police force in the country to understand the demands they are facing and I have committed to prioritising police funding in the next Spending Review.”