Total police workforce falls below 200,000 for first time since 2003
The size of the total police workforce in England and Wales has fallen below 200,000 for the first time in more than a decade.
Forces employed 198,228 personnel - including officers, civilian staff and PCSOs - at the end of September.
The tally fell by 6,201, or 3%, year-on-year - while it has dropped by more than 25,000 compared to a decade earlier.
It is the first time the total workforce figure has dipped below 200,000 since 2003.
Home Office figures showed an annual reduction of 2.2% in the number of police officers, which stood at 122,859 at the end of September.
This was a sharper fall than was seen in the previous two years, and continues a downward trend seen as constabularies face squeezes on their budgets.
Policing numbers have fallen under the spotlight again in recent weeks.
Earlier this month, Britain's most senior police officer declared that the "warning lights are flashing" over crime.
Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe raised the alarm after figures laid bare the scale of fraud and cyber crime and showed a jump in violent offences recorded by forces.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has also warned it would become "near impossible" to maintain the number of officers on the capital's streets if the force was hit with further funding cuts.
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman Lord Paddick, a former senior Met Police officer, said: " The sheer scale and extent of these cuts is frightening.
"We are seeing police officers and staff cut from the front line when crimes such as robbery and knife crime are on the rise.
"Cuts, like this, year on year to the police are not sustainable if we are to keep crime under control."
The Government insisted that police reform is working.
Policing Minister Brandon Lewis said: "Crimes traditionally measured by the Crime Survey for England and Wales have fallen by a third since 2010, to a record low.
"Through the 2015 Spending Review, this Government has protected police funding - and the public should be in no doubt that forces will continue to have the resources they need to cut crime and keep our communities safe."