Avon and Somerset Police support jobs go in £40m cuts

Colin Port Chief Constable Colin Port said it was a "dark day" for his force

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Avon and Somerset Constabulary is to cut nearly 200 members of civilian staff and shed 40 police officer posts as it cuts £40m over four years.

Avon and Somerset Police Authority said there would also be a recruitment freeze and the force helicopter would be in the air less following a 20% reduction in government funding.

Chief Constable Colin Port said it was a "dark day" for his force.

Setting its 2011/12 budget, the force also said a call centre would close.

Some of the staff at the centre in Taunton are to be transferred to the Portishead headquarters. It is not clear how many jobs will be affected but management has started a consultation period.

'Raw deal'

Forty-four staff who provide back-office support for Police Community Support Officers (PCSO) are among those to lose their jobs.

Mr Port said: "The decisions that have been taken today are not just about money. They are about people's lives, and I deeply regret the impact they will have and the good people we will lose as a result."

The police precept on council tax bills remains frozen at £168.03 per household.

Dr Peter Heffer, chairman of Avon and Somerset Police Authority, said: "We know through our consultation that people are prepared to pay more for policing, however they shouldn't have to.

"Today, we would have had to implement an excessive precept beyond what people wanted, if we were to counter the raw deal we receive."

He added: "There are challenging times ahead and tough choices will need to be made as we consider areas for further spending reductions over the next four years."

Avon and Somerset Constabulary employs 2,500 civilians and 3,200 officers.

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