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Hampshire Constabulary to axe 500 officers and staff
THEY are the sweeping cuts that could change policing across Hampshire for years to come.
Hampshire Constabulary announced today it will axe more than 500 extra officer and staff posts as it battles to save an extra £25m.
The force employs a total of 5543 members of staff, including officers and management roles.
Hampshire Constabulary has announced percentage reduction projections in a number of roles, but has stressed the final totals have yet to be finalised as further refinements are expected to be made as the plans are built.
Hampshire Constabulary said it would look to reduce chief superintendents and intendents by 15 per cent between 2014 and 2016.
The same reduction is planned for chief inspectors and inspectors.
The number of sergeants are expected to be reduced by 23 per cent - the biggest planned reduction across frontline staff.
PCs will be cut by ten per cent but the number of PCSOs - 333 - will remain the same with no cuts forecast.
The latest round of proposed cuts follows £55m of budget reductions Hampshire police would have made up to April this year, with 456 officer and 520 staff posts axed.
Despite the latest cuts, Hampshire's police force will introduce a dedicated senior police officer in neighbourhoods and prevention teams, redraw boundaries to enable better partnerships with councils and other public sector partners, and the introduction of intelligence-led services to protect the most vulnerable sectors of society.
The authority also stressed officers will still respond to the most serious emergency calls as usual.
Simon Hayes, Hampshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, also confirmed plans are in place to close more community police stations as it looks to save money within its estates budget.
He added potential plans for the police to move from its current Winchester headquarters to another location are still being looked at.
Chief constable Andy Marsh said: “Cutting £55m since 2010 has been extremely tough for one of the lowest cost forces in Britain.
“That is why I have been open in talking about the impact on our police officers and staff.
“Saving another £25m 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.”
Mr Hayes said: “One year ago I set some clear priorities to 'protect people and places' in Hampshire and the Isleof 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 reoffending.”
John Apter, the Chairman of Hampshire Police Federation has condemned the cuts.
He said: “The latest round of cuts to the policing budget will have a dramatic effect on policing across Hampshire and the IOW. 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 can not police the streets. We are in a critical situation and drastic action is required”.
“On top of previous reductions there will now be further considerable reductions of Police Officer numbers across all parts of policing.
"Response, Neighbourhood Teams, CID and specialist teams will see their numbers cut to the bone. The public should be under no illusion that these further cuts will impact on the service we can deliver.
"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”.
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