Police cuts will not hit road safety – claim

SPEAKING OUT Hampshire Constabulary's chief constable Alex Marshall
SPEAKING OUT Hampshire Constabulary's chief constable Alex Marshall
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PLANS to cut the number of officers policing Hampshire’s roads should not affect safety, according to the county’s top policeman.

Alex Marshall, Hampshire Constabulary’s chief constable, hopes a plan to merge road policing with neighbouring Thames Valley Police will help improve the service.

The decision to cut road policing officers by 16 per cent comes as the force battles to save £50m by 2015. Police officers cannot be made redundant, so they may not be replaced when they leave.

Mr Marshall said: ‘Particularly round the border area, in the north of Hampshire and the south of Thames Valley, when there is an incident that needs a Roads Policing Unit (RPU) to attend – for example, a serious accident on the motorway – the nearest unit will go. By doing that we will give better coverage to the public. I still want to give a good service on our roads, but have fewer people doing it. By doing this we will have fewer costs.’

It is hoped by combining roads policing, firearms and dog units with Thames Valley, the force will save more than £2m a year from April 2012.

Mr Marshall added: ‘We’re looking to give more of our neighbourhood officers speed equipment so where there is a problem people can approach their beat or neighbourhood officer and they will be able to take action without having to call in the RPU. I want people to drive more safely and I’m more interested in education than giving points.’