NORTHUMBRIA police could lose staff in Wearside and close Sunderland’s Gilbridge station after being told it needs to make cuts of £46million.
In a restructure announced yesterday, the force will lose 230 members of police staff, reduce its number of senior police officers by 200, close ‘expensive’ police stations, and reduce the number of ‘area commands’ from six to three.
Sunderland is one of six area commands, alongside Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, and Northumberland.
Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird said: “The Government cuts are relentless and unfair. They impact far more heavily on our police service than on many others. 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.”
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. “This includes 24/7 response and neighbourhood policing teams, including CSO Patrol and the detectives who work in our neighbourhoods.
“In order to make further savings we propose to introduce a new structure by streamlining our area commands and reducing the number of buildings we work from.”