Police officers will not have to be made compulsorily redundant, a major report into their pay has recommended - despite a separate warning that 28,000 jobs must go.
A confidential memorandum to the Home Office from the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), providing the most accurate figures yet about the full extent of the cuts facing policing in England and Wales, suggested 12% of posts would disappear.
Spending cuts will result in 12,000 police officers and 16,000 civilian staff losing their jobs, police chiefs predicted.
But the first part of a major review into police pay and conditions by Tom Winsor announced that compulsory redundancies would not be required in the short-term.
The report recommended scrapping bonuses for chief constables and superintendents, implementing a two-year pay freeze and ending overtime pay for backroom staff working at the weekend in return.
But officers will also be able to choose when they take their bank holiday leave and will receive an extra ten per cent of basic pay for every hour worked between 20:00 and 06:00. Maternity pay is to be extended from 13 to 18 weeks.
"We struck a tough but fair settlement for the police in the spending review but with a record budget deficit, we are in extraordinary circumstances," home secretary Theresa May said.
"With three-quarters of the police budget spent on staff, changes to pay and conditions have to be part of efforts to protect police jobs, keep officers on the streets and cut crime."
Some police forces will be affected more than others by the cuts because of the percentage of their funding taken from Whitehall, where the 20% spending reduction comes from.
West Midlands police receives over 86% of its funding from central government and so its funding will be cut by 18%, the Guardian reported.
"We will have fewer staff, the same or more demands, and will need to incentivise staff to produce higher quality," Greater Manchester police Chief Constable Peter Fahy told the newspaper, which obtained a copy of the Acpo memo.
The 28,000 figure is not as drastic as the 40,000 job losses predicted by the Police Federation last year, but will nevertheless spark alarm in police forces up and down the country.
"Everyone will support sensible reforms but it's important the government works with the police on reform rather that picking a fight with the police as they tried to do last week," shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said.
"The government is cutting too far too fast and hitting the police budget hard, ultimately it is local communities that will pay the price."