IF YOU need to ask the time from a policeman you better do so quickly as by the end of 2015 West Yorkshire's force will be 13% scarcer after announcing plans to cut its frontline force by 759 officers.

The move was announced today alongside the proposed loss of nearly 1,500 civilian staff, taking the numbers from 3539 to 2065.

PCSO numbers will fall from 763 to 751 as a four-year money saving campaign aimed at saving more than £90m, or 15% of gross revenue budget, bites.

Nationally, a total of more than 34,000 police jobs will be lost as part of Government cuts, inspectors have ruled.

About 16,200 police officers will be axed by 2015 amid fears crime could go up by 3%, a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary said.

Up to 1,800 community support officers and 16,100 police staff will also go as part of an overall reduction of 14%, the study of 43 forces across England and Wales said.

Protecting frontline policing will be "very challenging'' over the next 18 months, inspectors found.

"Forces will have to transform their efficiency if they are to protect frontline services," the report added.

Roger Baker, of HMIC, said it "went without saying" that forces were facing their biggest financial challenge in a generation.

HMIC chief Sir Denis O’Connor added: "The police service must adapt to these changing times in order to deliver the best deal for taxpayers and they will need some support to do this."

Police officer numbers will be at their lowest level since 2001/02, the report said.

City of London police will be worst hit, with cuts of up to 19% in its gross revenue expenditure by 2015.

Across England and Wales, police workforce levels will be reduced to 209,800 - compared with 243,900 in March last year.