MORE than 800 police officers and support staff are to be axed as Government cuts force Thames Valley Police to rein in its spending.

Plans are being drawn up to shed 297 police officers and 556 support roles across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire over the next four years, saving about £47m.

The force must cut its budget by 14 per cent following the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review last month.

However, details of where jobs will be lost are not expected to emerge until the force’s funding settlement is revealed later this month.

Home Office figures show Thames Valley currently ranks 34th out of 43 forces nationwide for the number of officers per head of population.

The Thames Valley branch of the Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, fears ‘frontline’ policing could feel the pinch, and other departments, including domestic violence teams, child protection and roads policing, could lose officers.

Oxfordshire could be hit badly as the force headquarters is in Kidlington.

Spokesman Rebecca Webber insisted the force would do everything it could to protect frontline beat officers.

Ms Webber said: “We’re trying to minimise the impact on visible policing and no reductions in patrol strengths or neighbourhood police teams have been proposed.

“The cuts proposed will have an impact across the Thames Valley and we are working on how this will affect individual areas.”

Currently, Thames Valley Police employs 4,286 police officers, 2,817 support staff, 497 Pcsos and 505 special constables.

Andy Viney, secretary of Thames Valley Police Federation, said: “It’s important to remember that policing is complex and is not simply delivered by the visible police officer on the street, often referred to as frontline policing.”