NEW figures have shown that the number of young police officers in Staffordshire has fallen by 70 per cent in two years.
The figures revealed that across the whole country the number of officers under 26 had dropped by nearly 50 per cent.
There were 9,088 officers aged under 26 in 2009-10 but only 4,758 in 2011-12.
These figures are collected by police forces in England and Wales for reporting to the Home Office.
But, the Home Office doesn’t include them in the police statistics that it routinely publishes.
A Home Office spokesman said: “Recruitment is a matter for individual forces and it is for chief constables and police and crime commissioners to ensure they have the right mix of officers.
“Police officers play a vital role in this country, fighting crime and keeping us safe. Our reforms are working - crime is falling and public confidence is high.
“The new college of policing is also now operational, ensuring we recruit top quality police officers and provide them with the specialist skills and training they need.”
Chris Haselden, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said the services faced budget cuts of around 20 per cent over four years.
Added to that, there had been a drive to recruit more graduates and more people with “life skills”, resulting in a higher average age of recruits, he said.
An annual fitness test would be introduced in September 2013 to ensure all officers were sufficiently fit to carry out their duties, he added.
Overall police numbers hit a nine-year low in 2012, due to tighter budget constraints slowing recruitment.
Data revealed l that the number of officers over 40 has stayed roughly unchanged from 2010 to 2012, while the number under 26 has plummeted by nearly half in this brief period.
Overall, there are nearly 10,000 fewer police officers of all ages than there were in 2009-10.
Despite attempts, the Mail was unable to obtain the figures for the number of police officers under 26 in Derbyshire and Leicestershire.