Major Essex Police cuts unveiled

The Essex Police service is facing its biggest ever change during peacetime as it makes cuts of £41m by 2014, the force's Chief Constable has said.

Essex Police will lose 388, or one in 10, of its front-line officers.

Spending cuts will also see the loss of about 600 support and office staff and 100 police community support officers.

Chief Constable James Barker-McCardle insisted that by changing the way the police works the public would not notice the difference.

The need for cuts follows a government spending review and a drop in grants to local authorities.

'Major concern'

Chief Constable Barker-McCardle announced his blueprint for future policing in Essex.

It will see the number of police officers drop from 3,636 to 3,248.

Chief Constable Barker-McCardle told a briefing on Friday: "Losing police officers and staff is a major concern. I would much rather not be losing them.

"But 30 years in policing tells me, it not just about head count - although head count is important - it's about tactics, it's about intelligence.

"I will make sure everyone in Essex Police always does as much as they can to keep Essex safe."

He added the cuts were the "biggest change to Essex Police in peacetime".

The blueprint will also see:

  • Increased numbers of police involved in Neighbourhood Policing Teams
  • A 25% reduction in senior police officers
  • More collaboration with other forces, such as Kent to increase capability and capacity
  • New technology designed to maximise use of resources
  • Increasingly intelligence led in fight against crime
  • Better use of estate by sharing office space with partners
  • Dedicated investigations officers, rather than officers having to juggle their case load with other duties

Reductions in staff will be made by 2014 and will see the number of officers on the beat back to levels last seen in 2005.

To date 130 people have taken voluntary redundancy eight have been made compulsorily redundant and 50 other vacant posts have not been filled.

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