Sir Denis O’Connor, chief inspector of constabulary, spoke to the Today programme after the publication of his report defining frontline policing:

“I think the sums involved if you want to take 20% out of an organisation with more than 80% people speak for themselves to an extent.

“It’s going to be very difficult to secure that without the numbers of an organisation falling and changing in different ways.

“What I said over a year ago, was that the only way 12% could be secured over a period of time would be by some system transformation and I think that’s what we need.

“What we’ve done here is map the front, middle and back so people can see what’s happening and see what choices are being made inside and outside policing.

“I think what’s happened in our culture is numbers are a proxy for service in themselves, and actually, they are important, but it’s not simply about numbers.

“It’s about how efficient you are and how you organise yourself.”