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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

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Cumbria police launch review to save £10.4m

Officer numbers are set to fall as Cumbria police is forced to find another £10.4 million of savings.

Jerry Graham photo
Jerry Graham

The force has already slashed £16m from its budget on the back of the Government’s spending squeeze in recent years.

But it still has a further eye-watering amount to slash as the cuts show no sign of easing.

Cost-saving changes are set to include a dramatic reduction in the number of neighbourhood policing teams in the county, potentially changes to the roles of police community support officers (PCSOs) and the work of the force’s communications centre.

The savings challenge in front of the constabulary were detailed today by Chief Constable Jerry Graham and Richard Rhodes, Cumbria’s police and crime commissioner.

General police staff numbers are also set to fall.

Mr Graham said: “Currently 75 per cent of our costs are on staffing, therefore it is inevitable that the majority of future savings may have to be found in operational areas of the business, which will mean a reduction of officer and staff numbers.

“One particular area of change will involve moving from 10 neighbourhood policing teams to three (north, south, and west) in order to reduce management costs and keep more PCs and PCSOs on the street.

“Community policing remains a priority and there will still be dedicated officers and problem solvers for communities. Named inspectors will still have responsibilities for geographical areas, and people will continue to receive an effective community service from their local police.

“Change is required due to budget cuts, but I am focused on protecting frontline policing as far as possible. I will continue to work hard to keep Cumbria one of the safest places to live, work, and visit, and provide the best possible policing service we can afford.”

Mr Graham, who is just one month into his new post, says staff and public consultation will be undertaken where appropriate and peoples’ views will be taken on-board.

He added that the force continues to look at digital and mobile methods of ensuring officers remain visible in the areas they serve.

Mr Rhodes explained the cuts were being made with indications remaining that Government-enforced spending cuts will continue for a few more years.

“It is essential, therefore, that the future organisation of the constabulary in Cumbria recognises this fact and plans accordingly,” he added.

“There are particular challenges for a largely rural county such as Cumbria. The recent report from the Chief Inspector of Constabulary makes the point that smaller forces based in rural areas are vulnerable.”

Areas under review:

  • Shift patterns: Looking at shift patterns for all uniformed officers who work in the territorial policing areas. It will affect officers up to, and including, inspector rank.
  • NPT structure: Focussing on how the NPT structures can be changed to create savings, and a reduction in officer and staff numbers.
  • Community safety: Examining how cost-effective community safety work can be done.
  • PCSOs: Looking at the remit of PCSOs, the definition of their roles and their deployment.
  • Command and control: Examining the front end problem solving and deployment of officers, including the work of the force’s communications centre.
  • Front counters: How cost-effective front counter services can be best delivered by the force.
  • Criminal justice: Including new case and custody system replacement work.
  • Administration: How cost-effective administration can be best delivered.
  • Printing: How cost-effective printing services can be best delivered.

No details are yet available of exactly what is being reviewed in each area.

The review process has been launched with a team tasked with drawing up options for change.

Have your say

We get the police service that the politicians dictate that we get.As in many instances we shoot the messenger rather than the real culprit.For decades now the police have been chipped away at, sooner or later a tipping point will be achieved and we get anarchy,in many areas of the country we already have that,if we want anarchy everywhere then carry on with the cuts.

Posted by Ted Mason on 8 September 2014 at 17:22

Put all officers on stake holder pensions with low contributions. Bring their level of wage in line with the private sector.

Posted by Graeme on 7 September 2014 at 22:10

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