WILTSHIRE has gained 37 frontline officers over the last three years, despite cuts to numbers nationally.

Figures from the Home Office show that 37 officers, in roles categorised as ‘visible operational frontline’, have been added to the Wiltshire Police force between March 2015 and this year – an increase of seven per cent.

In total, there were 584 officers in visible frontline roles this March.

They include 481 neighbourhood officers, who are posted in the community to gather intelligence and provide help at the scene of crimes.

But across England and Wales, more than 7,000 visible frontline officers have been lost over the past three years, a reduction of 11 per cent.

The increase in Wiltshire comes as officers face an increase in violent crime, which jumped from 13,160 in the past 12 months - 70 per cent more than in 2015.

And the Home Office figures showed that a number of other roles classed as ‘non-visible frontline’, such as those involved in intelligence gathering operations, dropped in Wiltshire, from 346 in 2015 to 278 this year.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said: “Forces are changing how they deliver local policing to reflect the priorities of local people and so that they can respond better to the changing nature of crime.

“They recognise effective community engagement is more than just having a visible police presence. Prevention, partnership working, problem-solving and safeguarding the vulnerable remain key.

“Decisions about front line policing, and how resources are best deployed, are for chief constables and democratically accountable police and crime commissioners. Most have already set out plans to either protect or increase front line policing this year.”