Sussex

Sussex Police to axe up to 1,000 jobs by 2020

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Media captionMatt Webb, chairman of the Sussex Police Federation, said the job cuts would have consequences

Up to 1,000 jobs are to be axed by Sussex Police over the next five years, the force has announced.

The plans include reducing the number of officers by 500, Chief Constable Giles York confirmed.

Mr York revealed the proposals as he unveiled the force's vision for policing, to meet the need to save £56m by 2020.

"The demands of tomorrow will be very different to the demands of yesterday," he said.

Plans for the force becoming a "smaller organisation" also include 200 fewer police staff and 300 posts will go from elsewhere.

The force currently employs 4,865 police officers and staff - 2,477 of whom are involved in local policing.

'Re-focus roles'

Mr York said that since 2010, the force had made savings of more than £50m, "while still protecting our front line and delivering a quality service".

"Now we must trim further and to do so we have to look at our most significant area of cost - our people," he said.

"As an organisation we spend 80% of our budget on pay and with budget reductions we must re-focus roles if we are to retain our ability to keep people safe."

Other key changes for the future include:

  • Community support officers (PCSOs) will be equipped with a wider range of skills, actively contributing to reducing crime
  • Officers will be trained to deal with a range of problem-solving issues, reducing the need for specialist officers
  • Response teams will not be constrained by the boundaries of East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton and Hove
  • A resolution centre, staffed by officers, will provide advice online or by phone to resolve issues
  • Officers equipped with mobile devices to easily access information and complete tasks whilst in the community
  • Victims and witnesses will have an officer dedicated to them throughout their case, reducing the need for handovers
  • Policing districts will be combined for effective command, consistency and partnership working

'Burden of savings'

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said the challenge for the future would be to maintain public confidence while delivering an effective and efficient police service.

She said: "Everyone has a part to play in reducing and preventing crime.

"I will continue to work closely with the police, partners and the public to ensure we all take responsibility for keeping Sussex safe."

In a statement, the public services union Unison said it opposed the job cuts because members had "already taken on the burden of the savings made to date by the force".

"We cannot cut anymore and to do so would severely affect the service provided to the communities of Sussex.

"Rather than cutting those services, they should be enhanced and investment made into them," the union said.

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