Chief constable insists community will come first as cuts start to bite

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A POLICE force is making radical changes to the way it operates in the face of massive funding cuts.

Humberside Police, which has to make £30m savings, will see the number of officers drop from 1,718 to 1,450 full-time equivalents by 2019. Between 500 to 600 police staff will also go.

Some stations could shut with officers moving into shared buildings with partners including councils.

An appointments system for victims of low-level crime and anti-social behaviour will replace the bulk of traditional home visits while calls to police will be “triaged” to weed out the 40 per cent of reports which are not police matters with callers “signposted” to other organisations.

There are plans to merge three separate administrative bases to create just one administrative department.

Chief Constable Justine Curran said staff would be “empowered” to make commonsense decisions when dealing with calls. She gave the example of someone calling police to report their chickens being shouted at, an “incident” which could be logged, written up and even sent to a neighbourhood team. She said: “If you speak to staff they would say of course you don’t need to do that, but I am following a process. My job is to take out the process that has frustrated staff in the past.”

Ms Curran promised there would continue to be be named police officers and PCSOs for communities.

She added: “We will be a smaller organisation.

“Sometimes that will bring us more pressures, but by taking the measures we are taking – looking at using modern technology to keep officers out without having to come back to a police building, offering access and information online, triaging – doing these things is about making sure all the resources are focussed on the things that matter to the community.”

Humberside Police Federation chairman John Blanchard said the force was entering “unchartered waters.”

He said: “This is a potential radical set of changes which come with their own risks.

“The top risk is that the public don’t get the police service they need.”