Police prepare for £18.5 million cut

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MORE than 100 officers are set to be cut over four years as Northamptonshire Police try to deal with a £18.5 million cut in its funding.

Speaking on Tuesday, Chief Constable Adrian Lee said the force will lose around 14 per cent of its budget over four years as the Government slashes its funding.

The result is the force - which currently has a recruitment freeze - expects to lose more than 100 officers from its current total of 1,295 through natural turnover, and the implementation of forced retirement after 30 years’ service.

Cuts in officers are also to be mirrored by similar percentage reduction in police community support officer numbers.

Despite the bleak announcement, Chief Const Lee pointed out that his force had saved £4 million this year, and that Northamptonshire was rated as among the best forces in England.

As well as losing officers, the force is expecting to make significant savings among its civilian staff through partnership working with other forces, or by efficiencies.

Chief Const Lee said: “We have seen a massive reduction in crime over the last 10 years, but we still have the same number of people working in crime management. We have never looked at the team in that time.

“I think a pressure like these cutbacks gives us the opportunity for some radical thinking as much of the entrenched resistance we might otherwise feel has gone.”

If officers are working desk jobs that are no longer needed, the intention is to redeploy as many as possible into frontline policing – a step that has already seen extra officers on the beat in the Daventry area.

Chief Const Lee said: “The Daventry area now has more officers that it did this time last year.

“If the worst thing happens and we don’t do any recruitment over the next four years, policing levels in Daventry may fall to where they were a year ago.

“With Daventry Police Station the plan was to get a developer to build us a new one and turn the current site into offices, but that’s not going to happen in the current climate. So, to make best use of it, we have £1 million set aside to invest in it.

“In addition there are some empty offices, so we will be looking to move departments into the building.

“Hopefully people will notice it becoming a more bustling place with more officers and staff around.”