Police units set to merge with 100 officer jobs lost

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FIREARMS and traffic officers from two police forces are set to merge as part of a cost-cutting move.

Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police have signed a legal agreement to cover how the two forces will form a joint operations unit this year.

As reported in The News, the unit will include roads policing, firearms units and operations support, which covers dogs and training.

Around 100 police officer posts will be lost as a result.

Hampshire Constabulary will host the joint operations department, led by Chief Superintendent Chris Shead.

He said: ‘From the public’s point of view, they will see all these services the way they always did.

‘If you call for the police, the police will turn up.

‘It means we are working more closely with colleagues from Thames Valley.

‘By combining those services we are delivering the same services with slightly less officers.’

First to merge will be the roads policing unit, which is expected to become operational at the end of this month.

Other units will join later in the year, finishing with the firearms unit at some time after the Olympics.

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

Police say people should not see a difference in responses to most incidents.

But officers from the two forces could cross paths when attending incidents in areas where their force borders meet, such as in north Hampshire.