Department of Justice is amongst most badly hit

Steve Dinneen
Follow Steve
CRIMINAL justice faced one of the biggest shake-downs of the spending review yesterday, with 20 per cent of its budget being cut.

The coalition said the majority of this will come from shedding bureaucratic workers and the cuts will be phased in over the next five years.

However, senior police officers say the cuts will mean at least 11,600 officers are at risk of losing their jobs.

The coalition says police pay and conditions will be modernised, central targets will be removed and there will be increased efficiencies in the police “back office.”

It is thought justice secretary Ken Clarke fought for the cuts to be held to 17 per cent but was overruled by the Treasury.

The Police Federation, the body that represents officers in England and Wales, had forecast even more severe cuts which could have meant the loss of 40,000 policing jobs.

Osborne said: “By cutting costs and scrapping bureaucracy we are saving hundreds of thousands of man hours -- our aim is to avoid any reduction in the visibility and availability of police in our streets.”

He said spending on fighting terrorism, earmarked as one of the greatest threats to the country by the new National Security Strategy unveiled this week, would be prioritised.

Elsewhere in the justice department, a fifth of prison, probation and court officer staff face the chop as well as another fifth of back-office workers.