Coventry & Warwickshire

Warwickshire Police recruitment delays 'could lead to cuts'

Failures in police recruitment could lead to further cuts, Warwickshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has warned.

Ron Ball said delays had meant about 100 unfilled vacancies across Warwickshire and West Mercia.

He said it had also led to an £8.5m underspend, which he said could mean further cuts from government.

Warwickshire Chief Constable Andy Parker said recruitment was now "back on track".

Mr Ball said many of the posts, now filled, had been caused by maternity leave or short-term absences.

He said a recruitment plan had been put together eight to nine months ago, but had taken six months to deliver.

'Running on goodwill'

Warwickshire and West Mercia forces, which are in an alliance, have together made £30m savings over the past three years and are currently consulting on a further £30m in cuts.

However, Mr Ball said the underspend created a false impression of a "healthy" budget and could lead to extra savings imposed by the Home Office.

He said the forces' current £10m underspend, which also includes IT projects, was unlikely to be spent on other things before the end of the financial year.

The PCC said recruitment delays had placed unnecessary pressure on other officers, meaning the Warwickshire force had been "running on goodwill".

"You can do that in the short term and get away with it but once we start looking at the medium and long term you can't run the organisation like that," he said.

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