Police cuts force £57m ‘savings’

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A HARD-PRESSED police force has drawn up plans to make savings of up to £57m in the wake of budget cuts.

Northumbria Police is attempting to balance its books with plans to shed 450 civilian posts to cope with the loss of £34m from its budget, which was revealed in the Government spending review.

The force employs about 4,100 police officers as well as 2,500 police staff, special constables and community support officers.

Police staff have been told they can apply for voluntary redundancy, take early retirement or reduce the hours they work.

Now Northumbria Police Authority members have agreed plans for how police services will be funded over the next three years to meet the objectives set out in the Local Policing Plan.

The plans, which are outlined in the Medium Term Financial Strategy, maximise the resources available so that front line policing services are protected.

The strategy also outlines how resources will be spent on essential capital projects.

Councillor Mick Henry, Chair of Northumbria Police Authority, said the force is facing unprecedented funding cuts and, over the next three years, budget savings in excess of £57 million need to be made.

“These are difficult financial times and the savings that need to be made are substantial.”

Coun Henry said the priority was to maintain front-line policing and the authority was exploring the option of sharing services with other forces.

“We are working with the Chief Constable to ensure we can continue to provide police services local people want,” he said.

“The Medium Term Financial Strategy outlines how we intend to meet the challenges over the next three years.

“We’ve been planning for change and have already begun to look at a package of measures to help us balance the budget.

“Business reviews have been carried out so we can challenge costs and ensure services are leaner and sustainable.

“Police staff have also been offered the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy.

“However, because of the funding cuts and spending pressures we will need to change the way we deliver policing in Northumbria.

“Options like collaboration and shared services will continue to be explored so we can create a police force that is fit for the new financial future we face.”

The budget, which sets out the detailed, specific spending plans for 2011-12, will be discussed by Northumbria Police Authority in February.

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