Policing shake-up could see 140 posts axed across county force

A RESTRUCTURE by a cash-strapped Yorkshire police force could mean the loss of 140 local policing posts by April 2016.

South Yorkshire Police says its safer neighbourhood teams will combine with other units to form “multi-skilled local policing teams” in Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster.

According to the force’s projected estimates, the re-organisation could save £8 million in 18 months but lead to a 15 per cent cut in the number of inspectors, eight per cent of sergeants and seven per cent of constables.

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The teams will serve the same geographical areas covered by current safer neighbourhood teams and will operate from existing police buildings, overseen by an officer of inspector rank.

Chief Superintendent Rob Odell, who is leading the restructure, said: “The force has to make difficult decisions to deliver significant savings to its budget but we’re committed to retaining a dedicated neighbourhood policing service in every community.

“We looked at a variety of policing models to determine the best structure to meet public demand and to deliver the Police and Crime Commissioner’s priorities while delivering the required savings. ”

The force, which has to save £49.2m over four years, will also create a new centralised CID unit with local detectives based at two hubs where they will deploy to all areas of the county.

Neil Bowles of South Yorkshire’s Police Federation said: “South Yorkshire Police have had its budget slashed since 2010. This model is designed to save another eight million pounds a year; not provide a better service.

“The savings will mean the loss of Sergeants and Inspectors, the vital role of first and second line management. Less money means less service, this will hurt the public of South Yorkshire.”