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Northumbria to lose officers and staff

Police TapePlans to cut jobs and close police stations have been announced by Northumbria Police in a bid to save £46 million.

The force says it plans to lose 230 members of police staff, reduce its number of “senior officers” by 200, close police stations, and reduce the number of area commands from six to three.
It is planned that any job or role losses will be achieved through natural wastage.

The force has already delivered £58 million of savings since the start of the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review in 2010. But it announced this week that it needs to save an additional £46 million by March 2017.

Chief Constable Sue Sim said: “Neighbourhood policing will remain the cornerstone of how we deliver service and I remain committed to protecting, as far as possible, the officers and staff who are visible in our communities.”

However she added: “In order to make further savings we propose to introduce a new structure by streamlining our Area Commands from six to three and reducing the number of buildings we work from.

“We will need to reduce police staff posts by approximately 230 across a range of areas by April 2017 but have already identified 80 vacancies and hope to achieve as many as possible through natural turnover.

“The new structure will also allow us to reduce approximately 200 senior management and supervisory police officer roles, again through natural turnover. We will continue to recruit police constables to fill frontline vacancies as they arise.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird branded central Government cuts as “relentless and unfair.” She said the savings “will be achieved without the need for any increase in the council tax for policing.”
She added: “The Chief Constable and I are very committed to maintaining the number of police officers and staff working in our neighbourhoods.

“To achieve this we need to do things differently, use technology more effectively and work from different buildings that are cheaper to run. We will re-locate Neighbourhood Policing Teams to bases in the local community, usually shared with other services.

“We are keen to make further savings by re-locating other neighbourhood policing teams into the communities that they serve, as this is what local policing is all about. However, we guarantee that no police services will be re-located until we have found accessible bases within the community for neighbourhood teams to work from and they are working well.

“I am conscious that local people are feeling the effects of the economic downturn very acutely in our region. We have managed to protect frontline numbers and deliver the savings needed without the public having to pay more.”

Gordon Armstrong, chairman of Northumbria Police Federation, said: “The Federation recognises that the force will have to make significant changes to its structure in order to navigate through these challenging and difficult times for all.

“We fully support the Chief Constable in her commitment to maintain front line services and visibility within our communities.

“During these difficult times, Northumbria Police Federation remains committed to working with the Force to ensure the Welfare needs of its members are considered at all times.”

Date posted: January 9, 2014

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