More bobbies on beat

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A POLICE force is to end its recruitment freeze and take on 20 new bobbies to keep its officer levels up.

Ten will be taken on in each of the next two financial years as Durham Constabulary works to keep its number of officers at 1,370.

The rookies will take up places made available by retirement. They will be recruited from applicants who have already successfully passed an assessment.

The move comes after 51 compulsory redundancies and 88 voluntary redundancies were made between August 2010 and last July.

The losses involved backroom staff and no officers were issued with redundancy consultation notices.

The job losses came as the force has to save 20 per cent of its budget during a four-year period as part of the review of funding by the Coalition.

Deputy Chief Constable Mike Barton said: “In 2010, as a result of good management and foresight, which anticipated the Government’s spending cuts, we embarked on a programme of compulsory redundancies for police staff, a review of non-staff expenditure and continued our freeze on police recruitment which has been in place since early 2009.

“We are now in a position to be able to review the freeze on police recruitment.”

The recruitment proposal will be considered by the police authority at a meeting today.