1,000 police jobs will go to the wall

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SAVAGE cuts will impact on the way the district is policed.

That is the stark warning from West Yorkshire Police Authority as it prepares to budget for a potential £87 million shortfall over the next four years.

There will be less police officers and staff, redundancies will have to be made, and departments will have to be merged to meet the Government-imposed savings.

Chairman of the authority, Mark Burns-Williamson, said: “In an organisation where around 80 per cent of the budget is spent on police officer and staff salaries, it was always going to be a challenge to cope with a reduction in spending of over £37m in 2011/12, and a potential £87m shortfall over the next four years.

“We have tried to avoid making large numbers of people redundant by taking steps such as freezing both police officer and police staff recruitment, as well as undertaking a major restructuring programme of so called ‘back office’ and support functions.

“Unfortunately there will still need to be some job losses and police officer numbers will also reduce as those who retire are not replaced.

“The front-loading of budget reductions announced by the Government means that roughly £64m less expenditure has to be absorbed in the next couple of years.

“We are working very closely with the Chief Constable and Force to achieve this but no one should be under any illusion: this will impact on the way in which policing is delivered throughout West Yorkshire.”

West Yorkshire Police Authority is meeting today to approve the budget for the upcoming financial year.

A report due to go before the meeting by the chief executive, Chief Constable and treasurer, states the scale of savings required will result in a smaller workforce, with an anticipated population of 8,949 by March 2012.

As reported by the Courier, cost-saving measures will include moving traffic officers out of Calderdale and the rest of the divisions to three “hubs” at Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford.

The step will mean there are less traffic officers and traffic cars in the force but the report claims: “the impact of this reduction will be offset by the ability to make more efficient use of the resources available because they are based in hubs”.

Deputy Chief Constable David Crompton said: “It is expected that almost a four per cent reduction will be seen compared with last year.

“We anticipate that around 1,000 officer and police staff roles will have to be lost, the majority of these through natural wastage and the continuing recruitment freeze. But, around 250 redundancies are expected to have to be made, the majority from back office and administration roles.

“Clearly any loss of staff is highly regrettable. For the past eight months the force has been running Operation Transform, to ensure the necessary reductions have as little impact on frontline services as possible.”