Wiltshire has the lowest rate of police officers and constables per population in the country, according to figures released by the government.

The force also saw a higher percentage of its staff leave during the year leading to March 2017 than any other force in England and Wales, according to the Home Office’s accounts of police workforce.

The news comes after the largest increases in recorded crime for a decade, with rising violence and theft driving the growth.

Police funding levels have continued to dominate headlines, and a 0.7% drop in the number of officers over the year to March 2017 took levels to their lowest in 30 years. With 123,142, there are over 20,000 fewer police officers nationally than in 2009.

According to figures released by the Home Office, Wiltshire has just 139 police officers per 100,000 population, 34% down on the national average. The rate is only 34% of the proportion of officers per population in the Metropolitan Police, the country’s highest.

With 103 constables per 100,000 population, Wiltshire again has the country’s lowest number, with around three times as many in the capital. In total, Wiltshire has 983 police officers, making it the third smallest force in the country behind the City of London (684) and Warwickshire (835).

One contributing factor is the number of officers who departed over the duration of 2016/17, with 100 leaving. Accounting for nearly 10% of its workforce at the start of the year, this was the highest rate of any area in the country. Over half the staff left due to normal (non-medical) retirement.

Only 48 staff joined, with Wiltshire one of only two police forces in England and Wales to have no officers transfer from other regions.

Wiltshire’s police force was 3.6% smaller by March 2017 than a year earlier, with only Nottingham seeing a bigger reduction in number of officers.

The figures also showed that the majority of the force’s officers were involved in local policing activities, including community police work and liaising with the community. Of other officers, the largest group – around 16% of the total – work on investigations.