107 police staff take redundancy offer

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MORE than 100 police staff are set to take voluntary redundancy in a cost-cutting drive.

Hampshire Constabulary had asked 2,635 civilian workers and 344 police community support officers to consider quitting their jobs to help save cash.

Applications made by 107 staff were approved by the force's Association of Chief Police Officers group.

A decision on requests made by another 23 workers has been deferred and four applications were declined.

The force is staying tight-lipped about details of what posts are to go.

However police officers are safe as they cannot be made redundant.

The move comes as the force battles to save more than 52m in the next four years due to government budget cuts of at least 20 per cent.

Staff aged over 55 have been offered flexible retirement, meaning they could cut their hours or pay grade to gain access to their pension.

The force has said it will do all it can to avoid compulsory redundancies - but cannot rule them out.

Kathy Symonds, Unison's southern region police branch secretary, said: 'We anticipate that in the next three years or so there will be more police staff posts shed.

'Unfortunately we still don't know at the moment how many.

'We are very disappointed that it has come to this.

'We accept our police forces are being hit very hard.

'If people want to leave the organisation and it's right for them, then we are comfortable with that.

'The problem we are going to have is if we get to the stage where there are compulsory redundancies.

'Our biggest problem at the moment is staff being relocated, because they get no financial assistance.'

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Dann said the force had chosen posts that would not disrupt policing.

He said: 'In carefully considering each expression of interest on an individual basis, any decisions reached at this stage have been made in order to preserve front line staff, maintain an excellent service to the public and have the minimum of impact to the force.

'By offering voluntary redundancy to our staff at this time, the force is living up to its pledge to minimise the impact on staff and reduce the likelihood of compulsory redundancies.'