A recruitment drive has been launched to help the force control the decline in numbers, with more officers leaving than posts lost.

Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh said that victims of crime will soon be able to report incidents online and officers will make better use of technology to allow officers to remain mobile rather than having to return to stations to carry out paperwork.

He said: “We need officers with smart phones and specialist apps for up to date intelligence, for stop and search, we need to look at the next 20 years.

“Even the mobile date terminals we recently introduced are aging technology.”