Hampshire police has said a rise in volunteer special constables will not be a direct replacement for cuts to regular police officers.
There are currently 3,566 police officers at Hampshire Constabulary, compared to 3,785 in 2010.
Special constables have risen from 420 to 530 over the same period, a BBC Freedom of Information request shows.
But the force, which has been hit with a £54m budget cut, said volunteers were not replacing paid officers.
BBC | 1st May 2012
Suffolk: Concern as scores of mental health patients absconding from units
The number was described as “unacceptably high” by an MP last night, although health officials said action was being taken to address the problem.
The figures have been released following a Freedom of Information request by the EADT.
They have emerged after mentally-ill patient Luke Sparks overpowered a member of staff at St John’s House, Palgrave, last October. He smashed his way out of the unit using a fire extinguisher.
Chris Harris | EADT 24 | 1st May 2012