MORE than 500 extra officer and staff posts are to be axed as Hampshire police battles to save an extra £25m.
As reported, senior officers have been working on a ‘radical redesign’ of the force in a bid to save more cash.
The latest cuts come on top of the £55m Hampshire police will have already saved by April next year.
Already more than 456 officer and 520 staff posts have been cut.
The force has not yet revealed the breakdown of the 535 officers and staff to face the axe in the latest cost-cutting bid.
But Chief Constable Andy Marsh has vowed to prioritise neighbourhood policing.
Mr Marsh said: ‘The facts now show that we have no choice but to plan for fewer officers and staff, but unlike some other areas of the country, neighbourhood policing will be prioritised with a dedicated resource.’
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 we’ve been dealt.’
The force is already sharing more services with neighbouring police forces including Thames Valley.
Buildings have been sold off and police station front desks have either shut or had their opening hours reduced.
Chairman of Hampshire Police Federation John Apter said: ‘The latest round of cuts to the policing budget will have a dramatic effect on policing across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Police officer numbers will be slashed further and the very structure of the force will have to change considerably. Without these changes to the structure of the force we simply can not police the streets. We are in a critical situation and drastic action is required.
‘On top of previous reductions there will now be further considerable reductions of police officer numbers across all parts of policing. Response, Neighbourhood Teams, CID and specialist teams will see their numbers cut to the bone. The public should be under no illusion that these further cuts will impact on the service we can deliver. We have reached a critical point and I believe there is no resilience left in the system, which is a dangerous place to be.’