Essex

Essex Police cuts specialist roles in favour of local policing

Essex Police officers
Image caption The chief constable said the public wanted to see more local policing

About 80 specialist police posts are to be cut in order to save £3m a year, Essex Police has said.

Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh said he was making "carefully considered reductions" to roads and firearms units from September.

This, along with moving 400 "centrally controlled response officers", would boost local policing numbers by 500.

The Essex Police Federation likened it to "moving deckchairs on the Titanic" amid other cuts.

The chief constable said the reduction in specialised posts would save about £3m a year.

'Feel demoted'

In 2012, the Essex force was set a target of making £42m savings to its annual budget of £262m by 2014-15, which meant about 1,000 officers and civilian staff would lose their jobs.

Under the latest reorganisation proposal, the roads unit would be cut from 161 officers to 103 while the firearms unit would see 109 officers cut to 85.

Mr Kavanagh said the public wanted policing delivered locally, but specialist areas would still have "the right level of resourcing".

"I also have to ensure that, operating within a reduced budget, we continue to deliver effective policing to all our communities," he said.

Mark Smith, chairman of the Essex Police Federation, said: "It is like moving deckchairs on the Titanic - it's a movement of officers to cover the fall in numbers.

"It is sad officers would lose their specialist roles, which they may have worked hard to get, but they are not losing their jobs, it's redeployment.

"We will have to look after them and make them feel valued as they may feel demoted."

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