Huge cuts threaten police jobs with the axe

Humberside Police Commissioner 'Matthew Grove.
Humberside Police Commissioner 'Matthew Grove.
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MANY more jobs could face the axe as a result of two cash-strapped police forces sharing more services.

Management and administrative posts in every area outside neighbourhood policing face cutbacks as Humberside Police grapples with “unprecedented” multi-million pound cuts in central Government funding.

Humberside Police Federation warned that it would impact on the service the police gave to the public and said despite the rhetoric “what you get with less is less”.

The force hopes to save £22m through a force restructure and is now looking to save another £13m from collaborating with South Yorkshire Police to make total savings of £35m over the next four to five years.

Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Grove said they were looking to set up more “cost effective” joint teams. The two forces already share a civilian chief officer with responsibility for human resources.

Mr Grove said: “Everything that is not local policing, not neighbourhood policing, we are looking to explore opportunities to achieve economies of scale that will save money. If there are opportunities to achieve efficiencies through reducing costs of management and administration why wouldn’t we?

“Humberside and South Yorkshire Police all have separate units and each has a management and command team. By joining some of these together you can reduce command and management overheads. It is called economies of scale.

“Eighty-five per cent of our budget is spending on people; if we are going to reduce costs it means reducing head count and what I have to is make sure it is not at the cost of front-line policing presence.”

Over the past decade numbers of police officers have dropped from 2200 in 2004 to 1651 at the end of January. The force also employs 1519 support staff and 285 PCSOs.

Paul Yeomans, chairman of Humberside Police Federation, said by the end of the cuts they would be down to 1,470 officers - a third of the service having been lost in a decade.

He said: “With the Government cuts the force has had no option but to restructure and go to a one force operating model from April, bringing in a new shift pattern which means police are going to have to work some horrible shifts and work longer before they get a break and take on increased workloads while still trying to maintain a service to the public. You can talk political rhetoric of collaborating, working smarter, improved technology, but however they dress it up, what you get with less is less.”

A spokeswoman for South Yorkshire PCC Alan Billings said they needed to save up to £49m from 2016/17 to 2019/20.

She added: “This will need to be found through efficiency savings in collaboration with the strategic partnership with Humberside Police, other reductions in spending and additional income This is in addition to £17m that was required to balance the budget for 2015/16.”