Hundreds of serving police officers will be replaced by civilians to save money, according to a report into Essex Police.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary carried out reviews into every police force in the UK to see how well they are planning for the future.

Essex Police has to make more than £63million in savings, and its progress has been rated as “good” by inspectors.

The report reveals projected police officer cuts in Essex, 447 by 2018/19, would represent a 15 per cent cut compared to the national average of six per cent.

However, it will be employing about 200 more civilian workers to support detectives.

The report states: “This is designed to build capacity and bring resilience to the force’s overall investigative capability, which is below that required due to previous lack of investment.

“While the force recognises its weakness in this area, the work to resolve the issue will be a quick-fix and the area will remain of concern.”

A report into future plans at Essex Police found:

  • It has “good” plans in place to make savings.
  • It has balanced the budget for this year.
  • The force works well in collaboration with Kent and was praised for its “far-reaching” plans to work with other authorities to make savings.
  • The cost of police officer per resident is £93. The national average is £115.
  • Essex Police’s portion of the council tax bill is about £150 per household, £30 less than the national average.
  • The force lacks detectives.
  • Officers and staff are not all appropriately trained or experienced to support vulnerable people.
  • The force is using new software such as Athena but the system has flaws and issues which are frustrating the workforce.
  • Investigations are taking too long.
  • There is an “unacceptable” backlog when it comes to responding to calls and reports of crimes meaning too many unresolved incidents.
  • Crime is up in Essex and victim satisfaction is down.