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Projected Officer Losses Increase

PCC predicts heavier officer post losses than previously forecast

A Police and Crime Commissioner has predicted two forces will lose around 200 officer posts between them in the next four years, considerably higher than originally predicted.

Bill Longmore, PCC for West Mercia, has published his draft Police and Crime Plan for 2013 to 2017 which projects 200 officer posts will be lost in Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police to cope with budget cuts.

The forces entered into a strategic alliance in 2011, which involved collaboration on some elements of policing, and the forces’ assistant chief constables have areas of responsibility for both force areas.

As previously reported on PoliceOracle.com, the two forces predicted a loss of around 90 officer posts by 2016 in June last year.

Ken Mackaill, Chairman of West Mercia Police Federation, said the increase was concerning and he would be meeting with Mr Longmore to discuss the new figures.

Mr Mackaill added he would be particularly concerned if the losses were in addition to posts that are currently vacant, of which West Mercia has around 140. He pointed out these vacancies meant it had fewer officers than official figures implied. The force lists “budgeted posts”, which says how many officer posts exist.

West Mercia Police says it has 2,251 budgeted officer posts, down from 2,418 in January 2010, before the Comprehensive Spending Review. Warwickshire Police says it has roughly 827 posts, down from 963 three years ago.

In his plan, Mr Longmore said he wanted to reassure officers he would try to avoid using A19, saying: “So far as possible during my period of office they will not be subject to enforced retirement.

“It would be wrong for me to attempt to disguise that our budget position means we will see an overall decline in police officer numbers by 2016 but I want this to be so far as possible by natural retirement.”

A West Mercia Police spokesman said the 200 posts figure was a projection and it was too soon to say for sure which ranks would be worst hit by the losses or how many officers each force would lose.

Mr Longmore also projected 450 job losses among police staff between the two forces in the same time period. However, he hoped to avoid making PCSOs redundant.

In February, 2012, West Mercia Police told HMIC it expected to lose 235 officers between March, 2010 and March, 2015. Warwickshire said it expected to lose 170 in the same period.

They could exceed those numbers, if they ultimately do lose an 200 additional officers between them by 2017.

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