Chief ‘will fight for every extra penny for police’

Hampshire Chief Constable Andy Marsh
Hampshire Chief Constable Andy Marsh

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‘I WILL fight for every extra penny for policing because I believe in it.’

That is Hampshire Chief Constable Andy Marsh’s vow after he unveiled new cost-cutting measures in the force’s battle to save an extra £25m.

As reported, Mr Marsh ordered a ‘radical reorganisation’ to save the extra cash by April 2017 – on top of £55m it had to save since 2010.

His plans now include:

8 Axing 535 more officer and staff posts.

8 Sharing more services with organisations including councils, Thames Valley Police and the fire service.

8 Cutting police officers in managerial posts.

8 Reducing neighbourhood policing teams but ring-fencing officers so they can no longer be taken away from their area by other duties.

8 Attending less non-emergency call-outs by resolving calls at the point of handling.

8 Combining investigation teams.

8 Putting a chief inspector in each of the 11 district leading dedicated neighbourhoods and prevention teams and creating a ‘borderless’ force.

Mr Marsh said: ‘Hampshire is a strong force and a very proud force and we are here for the public.

‘The scope and the mission is massive.

‘We have got to make some really tough decisions about the next phase of savings.’

He added: ‘We haven’t chosen to make these cuts. I didn’t become chief constable to reduce the size of policing – that’s the hand that we have been dealt.’

The force has not yet revealed where the axe will fall in terms of job losses, saying a final decision has not been made.

But the new reductions – combined with 456 officer and 520 staff posts already cut since 2010 – mean that by April 2017, Hampshire police will have shrunk by 23 per cent.

Meanwhile, police community support officer numbers will remain at 333, as requested by police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes in response to public consultations.

John Apter, chairman of Hampshire Police Federation, said: ‘Let’s not gloss over the reality of the impact of these further cuts. We are faced with such damaging cuts that the service we are giving the public will be reduced.’

The force is already trialling a ‘resolution centre’ where police officers and staff work together to resolve less serious calls.

The force will continue to send officers to the most serious emergency calls.

Mr Hayes said: ‘It’s about positioning Hampshire Constabulary as a quality police service that’s at an affordable costs to the public, that gives value for money and critically maintains our position as being one of the cheapest in the country.’