New research has found that rural areas have fewer police officers per head of population than towns and cities.

The Countryside Alliance, which carried out the research, said that the newly-elected PCCs, who will set the spending plans for their force area, must ensure that officer numbers in rural areas are not depleted still further as budget cuts are enforced.

Executive chairman Sir Barney White-Spunner called upon PCCs to ?routinely consider? the needs of rural areas in the development of policy and strategy.

Sir Barney said: ?These figures will make worrying reading for country people, many of whom have found themselves victims of crime. Any reduction in police funding will require careful planning so as not to disadvantage those in the countryside.?

?What we need to see is proper consideration given by PCCs to crime in rural areas, police funding and staffing.?

The Countryside Alliance?s figures show that there is one policeman for every 1,037 people in rural areas ? 44% more people per policeman than in urban areas.

They also show that there are 26% more people for each police community support officer and 10% more people for every special officer.

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