London, July 2 : Too many policemen have been taken off the streets and police officers will vanish from patrolling the beat on Britain's streets within 15 years, the Essex police chief has warned.
Roger Baker, who heads the Essex Police Force, predicted that it might not be long before virtually no officers were left on the beat.
He also said that police forces are not doing what the public wants, the Daily Express reported.
Baker's claims came on a day when Cherie Blair - the wife of former Prime Minister Tony - told MPs that knife and gun crime among teenagers was more common than official figures suggest.
And in calling for more high visibility policing, she made the remarkable admission that she feared for her children when they go out in the street.
Baker, an outspoken chief constable with a reputation for defying Government diktats, also raised concerns about the number of police stations that have closed and the number of times victims are given crime numbers instead of being visited by officers.
"I think we are taking too many cops off the streets. My fear is that, if we are not careful, in the next 10 to 15 years or so there will be virtually no sworn police officers on the streets of this country," he said.
"I don't think that's a healthy situation. The office of the constable is special and precious," Baker added.
He announced that he plans to employ 600 more police officers in Essex - all but 100 in uniform and on the streets.
Baker said he was looking at ways to boost cash without adding to council tax bills or making civilian staff redundant. Politicians and victim support groups backed his stance.