Police jobs to be axed to save cash

PUBLISHED: 13:30 23 October 2015

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HUNDREDS of police officers could be axed from Avon and Somerset Constabulary as the force tries to scrape back tens of millions of pounds in savings.

The constabulary breathed a sigh of relief when a new police funding formula, which could protect millions of pounds of force funding, was introduced.

But now the force faces huge cutbacks in funding during a new comprehensive spending review in November which will prompt ‘a radical rethink’ of police services.

Even under a ‘best case’ scenario, the force faces a 20-25 per cent reduction in funding by 2020 – equating to a deficit of up to £30million.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “Whatever the eventual outcome of the funding formula, we still face a very significant financial challenge from the review.

“With cost pressures from pay, increments and national insurance changes we could be forced to lose hundreds of police officers and staff over the next four years. The review will force a radical rethink about the delivery of police services.

“Avon and Somerset will continue to be innovative and seek to collaborate with other police forces and partners to maintain services but ultimately the workforce will be smaller going forward.”

The Mercury and Ms Mountstevens jointly campaigned for fairer funding last year, with hopes the old formula for dividing money between police forces would be scrapped.

Avon and Somerset has missed out on more than £110million in eight years due to the outdated and unfair formula.

Although the force will only get a similar grant as it does now there were fears the force could have lost further tens of millions if the old formula continued.

Ms Mountstevens added that although the formula is ‘much-improved’, she will make a final plea for the Home Office to give greater consideration to the population of a police force area when grants are calculated.

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