STAFFORDSHIRE Police has proved to be a top saver after being declared one of the best in the country for watching the pennies.
The force has been hailed as providing outstanding value for money in a report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).
At least 40 out of 43 forces in England and Wales were judged to be good or outstanding in providing value for money.
Staffordshire was singled out for praise by the inspectors as despite having to make more than £30 million in savings it managed to hold a recruitment drive for more officers.
Officer numbers fell from 2,200 in 2010 to around 1,850 and crime in the county has dropped by 14 per cent since 2010/2011.
Victim satisfaction rates were also on the rise and higher than other forces. Staffordshire achieved 89.9 per cent compared to 85.2 per cent in 2013/14.
And a total of 78 per cent of its officers are deployed on frontline crime-fighting duties – four percentage points. higher than four years ago.
Dru Sharpling, HM Inspector of Constabulary for the Wales and Western region, said: "There is a clear focus on value for money demonstrated through low workforce costs and a continual drive for improving satisfaction even further, despite having the highest level of satisfaction in England and Wales.
"Officers and staff are developed to achieve excellence and are motivated to provide the best service they can."
Chief Constable Mike Cunningham said: "It is our duty to make sure we do the very best to tackle the issues that matter most to our communities. We have achieved this high rating thanks to the dedication and professional approach of our officers, staff and volunteers.
"While finance is an important factor, it is not the only driver in the way we serve our communities and we work to continue to balance numerous competing demands."
It is estimated the average bobby costs £89.30 per head of population in Staffordshire compared to an average of £117.70 in England and Wales.
Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis added; "It's been a tremendous year and despite the impact of less money really starting to bite, crime has reduced and the focus on improving service quality has never been stronger.
"Staffordshire Police has done tremendous work managing its resources during a difficult few years. Now it's crunch time as finances get even tougher."