West Midlands Police has lost 19 per cent of “front-line” emergency responders in just two years, according to new figures.
The number of police dealing with 999 calls has fallen by 1,023 according to a Freedom of Information request from Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper.
The West Midlands Police Federation said it was “absolutely horrified” at the news.
The new data, supplied by the 43 forces in England and Wales, has been verified independently by the House of Commons library.
It shows a fall of 5,261 across all forces in the number of officers defined as “first responders” between March 2010 and December last year.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate Of Constabulary defines “first responders” as those responding to 999 calls, attending traffic accidents and being first at the scenes of crime or disorder.
Ian Edwards, chairman of the West Midlands Police Federation said: “If these figures are accurate, I would be absolutely horrified.
“We are very concerned by this and the public should be too. I have emails from 50 members who have been taken off front-line duties to staff call centres in the last six to ten months.
"We have also been told that there have been cuts in bureaucracy to free up officers for duties, but we have seen no evidence of that either. We have got another three years of cuts and that will amplify where we are at the moment.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “These are not official figures and we don’t recognise them. According to official statistics and police plans, the proportion of officers on the front line is rising.
"Official figures show that since March 2010 we’ve seen 500 more officers on the front line as work is done across all 43 forces to reduce the more than 23,500 warranted police officers in backroom posts.”
West Midlands Police declined to comment.
Coun Ayoub Khan, the Lib Dem cabinet member for community safety, will be putting his name forward to be police commissioner for the region when candidates for the new position go to the polls.
He said: “I will be double checking the statistics. But if they check out, then I am obviously concerned.
“I have already said that as commissioner I would like response times to 999 calls reduced from about 15 minutes to nearer seven minutes, in line with the ambulance and fire services.”
Mike Olley, bidding to be Labour candidate for the position, said: “For losing front-line service provision, the responsibility lies with the coalition government and their savage cuts.
‘‘If elected as commissioner I will confront the home secretary and demand a fair settlement for the West Midlands.”