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Force faces losing 147 police officer posts

Bright yellow jackets worn for high visibility.Thames Valley Police will cut 147 police officer posts next year in a bid to save £45m over the next three years, although the force claims this will not impact on frontline numbers.

In financial proposals presented to the Police and Crime Commissioner earlier this month, the force has revealed that 94 training posts will be cut and 53 officer positions will be converted into staff roles.

Thames Valley says it has an “ongoing commitment” to protecting frontline services and officer numbers, despite ongoing financial pressures on the force as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR).

The force has already made savings of £58m between 2010/11 and 2014/15, although it says the proportion of “frontline” officers has only fallen by two per cent.

The force said savings were made possible through restructure and redesign, but admitted that further savings were becoming “harder to identify” through the continued period of austerity.

Part of the initial training for new officers has been moved out of the police service and “into the wider educational market”, it said. This will save approximately £2.8m, the equivalent of 94 posts, said the force.

Meanwhile, 53 officer posts that do not need police powers will be converted from warranted officer roles to support staff roles.

Chief Constable Sara Thornton said: “There is no doubt that the financial position of the force over the next three years remains challenging. However, we remain committed to identifying innovative ways to reduce costs without impacting on our frontline services.”

Ms Thornton added that the latest figures are not the end of the force’s budgeting and that she will continue to “work out the fine details” over the next three months.

Of the £45m savings to be made from 2015/16 to 2017/18, £24m of savings have already been identified, while work is ongoing to identify the remaining £21m.

“Police officer numbers are inevitably the subject of debate, but it is really important to understand what any reduction actually means,” said Ms Thornton. “The reduction in Thames Valley next year contains 94 training posts and 53 workforce modernisation posts which will not impact on our frontline numbers.”

Date posted: November 19, 2014

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