More cuts will pose ‘challenge’ to police

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A report has highlighted Northamptonshire Police as one of five forces that will struggle to cope with further budget cuts.

The report from HMIC says Northants Police has ‘significant performance issues’ which they will struggle to rectify at the same time as making further cuts and that it will be ‘challenging’ to make the changes necessary to save more money.

HMIC for the eastern region, Zoe Billingham, said: “The force faces a smaller saving requirement than other forces. While it has developed some innovative approaches to meeting its funding challenge, the force has struggled to deliver on performance.

“The force does not yet have a clear and overarching change programme, nor does it have a plan that will enable it to close the funding gap over this spending review period, unlike most other forces.

“Faced with further budget restrictions after March 2015 HMIC is concerned that it will be challenging for the force to deliver the further change necessary and provide an acceptable level of service to the public.”

The force says it needs to save £21.8 million between March 2011 and March 2015.

The report says Northamponshire Police is cutting police officers (123 fewer by 2015), community support officers (down 32 per cent) and police staff (down 37 per cent).

HMIC says from March 2011 to March 2013, crime, excluding fraud, dropped by only three per cent in Northamptonshire; compared to a 13 per cent across England and Wales.