The growth in police community support officers (PCSOs) and other civilian staff has outstripped the rise in fully sworn officers, according to a report by the Police Federation.
It showed the average ratio of police officers to staff was 1.4 to 1 last year - compared to 2.3 to 1 in 2000.
One force, Surrey, has more civilian staff - taking statements, interviewing people and gathering data - than warranted officers. The same force has the worst detection rate in the country, says the Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers.
It claimed politicians had put ' short-term cost savings ahead of public safety'. The federation demanded a reversal of the trend which, it said, could threaten the ability of the police to 'deal with unexpected and unplanned circumstances'.
With budget cuts pending, it is feared that the 'thin blue line' could be further eroded.
Nationally there has been a 16 per cent increase in police officers but an 80 per cent rise in police staff (49 per cent excluding PCSOs).
Paul McKeever, chairman of the federation, said: 'I find it alarming that there is no tangible evidence that even suggests, let alone proves, the value brought by "civilianising" increasing numbers of police posts.
'The public want more police officers on the beat. Instead we have increasing numbers of unaccountable, unidentifiable police staff who do not have the flexibility or resilience to give what is needed as an emergency service.'
He said that, if unchecked, the changes 'will destroy the police service in England and Wales'.
Speaking on the eve of the federation's annual conference in Bournemouth, Mr McKeever urged the new Home Secretary, Theresa May, 'to implement a full independent review and to have the courage to ask the public what they actually want and expect from their police service'.
New Labour, spent 13 years creating non jobs in the police, expanding the paperwork, turned millions into criminals with countless laws and treated us all as suspects as well as denying the true crime figures.
Time to scrap the worthless PCSO's and send them back to the community centers to lick windows.