Police set to axe jobs

By Richard Wright

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

 

THE ISLE of Wight will retain a top cop despite the latest swingeing cuts to be imposed by Hampshire Constabulary announced today (Wednesday).

Police have confirmed 535 officers and staff were expected to lose their jobs over the next three years, making 1,000 since 2010.

It is not clear how many Island jobs would go.

The cuts enable the force to achieve a further £25 million savings by 2017, required by central government.

The changes re-shape the force with an emphasis on district and neighbourhood policing to use front-line officers more effectively.

It retains a commitment to the existing number of Police Community Support Officers and the Island force will retains a superintendent at its head.

Ch Con Andy Marsh said: "Cutting £55 million since 2010 has been extremely tough for one of the lowest cost forces in Britain.

"Saving another £25 million means that we have no choice but to make further cuts. With fewer people, we cannot just keep piling the pressure onto a stretched frontline.

"That is why we have fundamentally reviewed what we do, how we do it and what we should not be doing when there is no risk to the public or others are better placed to help."

Police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes said: "One year ago I set some clear priorities to 'protect people and places’ in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

"Since then we have started to dispose of unnecessary and costly police buildings, work with partners to tackle domestic violence, and increase restorative justice to cut re-offending.

"The facts now show that we have no choice but to plan for fewer officers and staff, but unlike some other areas of the country, neighbourhood policing will be prioritised with dedicated resource."

He said a new Resolution Centre was currently being trialled where experienced police officers helped to better prioritise calls from the public and deploy the right resources.

The announcement was met with dismay by the Hampshire Police Federation, which represents officers.

Chairman John Apter said: "Police officer numbers will be slashed further and the very structure of the force will have to change considerably.

"Without these changes to the structure of the force we simply cannot police the streets. We are in a critical situation and drastic action is required."

He said cuts on top of previous reductions would hit all areas of policing.

"The public should be under no illusion that these further cuts will impact on the service we can deliver," he said.

"We have reached a critical point and I believe there is no resilience left in the system, which is a dangerous place to be.

"The government must stop and take a long hard look at the damage they have done to British policing.

"Morale has never been lower — we have no resilience. We will now strive to be adequate and the people who suffer will be the public.

"This is a sad day in the history of Hampshire Constabulary."

How the savings will come:

• Reduced demand (including Resolution Centre) and improved forecasting — £8.5m.

• Management reductions — £7.7m.

• New investigation approach — £8.9m.

Reporter: richardw@iwcpmail.co.uk

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