Hampshire police to cut jobs to share more services with Thames Valley

ON THE ROAD ''Police officers carry out spot checks on Havant Road, Emsworth.
ON THE ROAD ''Police officers carry out spot checks on Havant Road, Emsworth.

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PLANS by Hampshire and Thames Valley police to share vital services will see 119 posts axed across both forces.

A joint operations unit covering roads policing, firearms and operations support – including dogs and training – is being set up in a bid to save cash.

The cost-cutting move could save the two forces up to £6.7m a year by April 2012.

Police say the public will not see a difference in responses to most incidents. However officers could be called to attend crashes or other incidents in their neighbouring force area in areas where borders are shared, such as north Hampshire.

Roads policing and some operational areas such as the shared training of firearms teams and joint dog support courses are already working together.

But firearms units will not merge until after the London 2012 olympics.

In total 119 police officer posts will eventually be lost as a result of the new unit.

Many are already vacant but other posts will be cut by not replacing people when they leave or redeploying officers in the affected areas to other roles. It is not yet known which police staff jobs could be affected.

A Hampshire Constabulary spokeswoman said: ‘Each force has some unit which are not replicated at the other, for instance, Thames Valley’s mounted police section and Hampshire Constabulary’s specialist force support unit.

‘These assets will be retained by their forces, but managed through the joint operations unit, making the process by which each force can call on mutual support smoother and more effective.

‘[A total of] 119 police officer posts across both forces would eventually be lost with the creation of the joint operations unit, however many of these posts are already vacant as a result of ongoing savings being made in either force.

‘Affected police officers would be redeployed to other core policing roles.

‘Police staff posts are subject to review and consultation processes which will be implemented at the relevant times.

The move comes as Hampshire Constabulary battles to save up to £50m by 2015 due the government’s spending squeeze.

Already about 450 posts – including 170 police officers and 280 staff – have been cut to save cash in the last financial year.