Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Hampshire police to cut 160 jobs

Hampshire Constabulary is to cut 160 jobs over the next year as part of budget cuts.

Hampshire Police Authority met earlier to rubber-stamp proposals to save £20m over the next 12 months.

As part of the cuts, 82 police officer posts which are currently vacant will not be filled and 78 full-time backroom staff will also go.

The force's Chief Constable Alex Marshall said front-line officers would be protected until April 2012.

The force, which employs 6,700 staff, will have a budget of about £314m for the next financial year.

'Natural wastage'

Mr Marshall said the force was looking at protecting front-line services through to April 2015, as it faces cuts of £50m.

"Crime is falling, anti-social behaviour is down and I'm pleased with the way things are going," he said.

"What I would really like to do is to increase the number of people we have got in local visible roles.

"I accept there's always risks to this.... but so far I have protected front-line visible policing and numbers are going in the right direction."

The force will also save £1.13m through what it called "natural wastage", such as not filling posts when a staff member leaves.

John Apter, of the Hampshire Police Federation, which looks after the welfare of officers, said the cuts were only "the tip of the iceberg".

"I think it's a mixture of emotions because we knew this was coming, very deep and damaging cuts, so it's disappointing from my perspective that we are reducing police officer numbers," he said.

"However I am a realist and I understand the financial situation we are in needs difficult decisions to be made.

"They have made plans very early on, this has not come as a surprise."

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