Cambs Police set to tackle unprecedented cuts

EXPECT to see less police officers on the beat, the deputy chief constable of Cambridgeshire warned this week as the force looks to make millions of pounds worth of savings.

Up to 200 jobs could also go, John Feavyour said of a force that has already made �1.2m of savings this year which resulted in more than 20 redundancies and a pay freeze affecting 50 posts.

Closing police stations, reducing officer numbers and sharing resources with other forces are all on the table.

Up to �9million could be taken out of next year’s budget for Cambridgeshire with estimates that up to �33m will need to be saved over the following four years.

The force, which had a budget of �130m, is currently consulting on how savings can be made, but nothing has been ruled out.

Mr Feavyour warned that civilian staff, officers and PCSOs jobs would all be affected as the force responds to the Government’s request to cut spending.

Even with some staff taking early retirement, a halt on recruitment, and a pay freeze - which are some of the saving suggestions being put forward - it was likely jobs would have to go.

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The public, he said, would notice fewer police officers on the streets and added that the closure of police stations could also not be ruled out.

“The public won’t see much difference early on, but as officer numbers reduce either through natural wastage or not recruiting, people will notice less police on their streets,” he said.

“It is inevitable that drastic cuts will be needed at every level in the force.”

He could not guarantee that an officer would be available to attend every incident, but added that “when the public need us, we will be there.

“My number one priority is to protect life and property. “If someone calls us and needs our help, we will respond. “We just have to work out how to reorganise ourselves so that we can.”

Visits are being made to police stations asking officers and staff to recommend where savings can be made.

Mr Feavyour said he had been impressed with the response so far, with “everyone understanding the tough challenges ahead”.

He said already some staff had offered to reduce their working hours to save jobs.

“This is going to be a painful process and we cannot make these cuts without deleting posts,” he said. “This is not the type of business the police is used to and this is not the type of business we want to be in.”

In addition to job losses, Mr Feavyour said they would be looking at “creative cost-cutting” which could mean working more closely with other forces to pool resources. This could include sharing the force helicopter and taking a collaborative approach to services, including HR, finance and internal investigations.

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