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Avon and Somerset could lose 12% of its police officers by 2015

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: July 03, 2012

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Police forces across the South West will axe almost 3,000 workers by 2015 – including nearly 1,600 officers, a report concluded yesterday.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) warned Devon & Cornwall was one of three forces that may not be able to provide an effective service in the future.

The figures were released as it emerged that policing the far right English Defence League’s upcoming march through Bristol will cost tax payers £500,000 and involve 1,000 police officers coming from as far away as Yorkshire.

All forces are being forced to make swingeing cuts because of reductions in funding by the coalition Government.

The document finds Dorset is losing 308 officers, 21 per cent of its total, between 2010 and 2015, with Devon & Cornwall shedding 616, or 17 per cent, and Avon & Somerset 405, 12 per cent. Both Gloucestershire and Wiltshire are losing one in ten of its police officers, 125 and 119 respectively.

When police staff and police community support officers are included, Dorset is going to lose 989 employees between 2010 and 2015, 22 per cent of its total. Devon & Cornwall’s payroll will reduce by 989, 17 per cent, and Gloucestershire will shed 337 people, 15 per cent, Wiltshire 273 employees, 12 per cent and Avon & Somerset 608, 11 per cent.

Dorset is losing the biggest proportion of its police officers, along with Humberside, with more than one in five going, while in contrast Surrey is increasing its number by three per cent.

Cleveland is making the highest proportion of staff redundant with 29 per cent, while Surrey loses just two per cent.

HMIC says Avon & Somerset needs to save £42 million by March 2015, and is shedding more than the England and Wales average of ten per cent of police officers.

However the proportion of officers in frontline roles will rise from 86 per cent in March 2010 to 93 per cent in March 2015, higher than other forces. The force cut crime by two per cent in the year to last December and 88 per cent of victims were satisfied with the service they received, better than the national figure.

Dru Sharpling, HMIC for the Western Region, said Avon & Somerset had a track record of reducing costs, and was taking a careful approach that meant it was in a good position to achieve its target. “Although Avon & Somerset Constabulary will be reducing its workforce, and this includes cutting police officer posts, it intends to increase the proportion of officers in frontline roles by 2015,” he said.

“The force has an ambition to continue delivering improved policing in Avon & Somerset, to secure the highest levels of confidence in policing services and make communities feel safe.”

HMIC says across England and Wales, forces plan to cut their total workforce by 32,400 by March 2015, including 15,000 officers. It warned: “There is a risk that three forces (Devon & Cornwall, Lincolnshire and the Metropolitan Police) may not be able to provide a sufficiently efficient or effective service for the public in the future.”

Policing will be particularly stretched in Bristol on July 14 when the anti-Islamist EDL are due to march from Redcliffe Wharf to Queen Square.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary yesterday released details of how it planned to police the march and any counter-EDL protests that may take place. Assistant Chief Constable Anthony Bangham said around 1,000 police officers would be drafted in from a range of forces, including from Yorkshire, Wales, the Midlands and the South West. The police helicopter will also be available, providing officers with live footage of the march and any counter protests.

Mickey Bayliss, organiser of the planned march, said the EDL was committed to a “peaceful demonstration” against the “Islamification of Bristol”.

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  • airhellair  |  July 04 2012, 1:38PM

    .....and the media.." Steady on Moexxx, we not all bad or hack into others' mobiles... Naturally, tories will want to cut police jobs. For example, security firms wont have a mandate to investigate the likes of Warsi, Watson, Fox et al. As strategy goes, it's not bad: protect your corrupt and criminal friends by cutting back police.

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  • Viscount_V  |  July 03 2012, 10:01PM

    All of that Dave F does nothing to explain the uncanny coincidence that since Dorset suffered some of the most savage cuts to its budget, this happened: "crime in the county went up two per cent in the year to December 2011, compared with an average three per cent fall". "in the first year of savage cuts being forced on Dorset Police there was a rise in general crime locally as well as increases in robbery and burglary" "crime in the county went up two per cent in the year to December 2011, compared with an average three per cent fall" "Victim-based crime in Dorset went up three per cent, robbery eight per cent and burglary two per cent". This is just the beginning. The biggest cuts are yet to come. We can all feign surprise as the cash starved thus failing Police Force is privatised to make way for several security firms with close links to Tory Donors. . .

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  • MoeXXX  |  July 03 2012, 9:57PM

    Ah, of course, we should cut the police because the police promote crime. Did someone put something in the water tonight?

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  • DaveF_Walcot  |  July 03 2012, 9:40PM

    A quote on the radio this morning in defence of the latest plans: "people on the street won't notice any difference". Well, of cause not! There were no police on the street before!! "We should cut crime not policing." Two major problems withthis VV. 1. The police still base promotion on arrest rates. They actually want crime to exist so they can get a better wage. 2. The police aren't educated enough to know what the law is so are unable to enforce it. For instance the filming of the police in a public place. (Do a Google search)

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  • MoeXXX  |  July 03 2012, 7:49PM

    Never mind youth unemployment and poverty, what about the bankers and the media and the Tory cabinet? Now is not the time to be cutting police.

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  • GordonTracey  |  July 03 2012, 7:07PM

    admit Malcolm is really excelling today, He supports the 'Party of law and order', and somehow cuts in police officers is a good thing, as we clearly had far too many under Labour. Vix is spot on, policing will be contracted out to dodgy private sector companies, standards will slip, crime will increase as youth unemployment increases, and as the random benefit cuts create poverty. Still, start looking at tax loopholes and you could really help sort out the defecit..... Wonder why that is less of an option than cutting essential services?

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  • Viscount_V  |  July 03 2012, 2:40PM

    So should we cut crime by not cutting Frontline Police Officers or should we cut the men and women patrolling the streets and subcontract the work to Security Guards and Bouncers? Are we happy with the potential of Ken Maddock as a shiny new Police and Crime Commisioner or should the way he acted while in Somerset County Council give us a taste of things to come? I need only say, avoid like the plague.

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  • mcupis  |  July 03 2012, 2:27PM

    Shall we rephrase that Vix? Let's have a look at what has happened in Dorset after the budget was reduced due to the unsustainable spending of the previous Government, the ruinous state of the economy, the tiny amount of time Dorset Police actually spend out Policing and the ridiculous number of people employed to do unnecessary jobs just to buy their votes and get them contributing to a public sector union. There, that's better...

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  • Viscount_V  |  July 03 2012, 1:54PM

    Let's just have a look at what happened in Dorset after the Police cuts http://tinyurl.com/coo4qw4

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  • Viscount_V  |  July 03 2012, 1:47PM

    We can't get more police out policing with a 20% cut to their budget. Thousands are being laid off! It's entering a pretty frightening phase regarding our protection and crime in general. Regardless of harking back to what caused what and when I'm more interested in ensuring Ken Maddock gets nowhere near alotting a police budget anywhere. We need to protect our Frontline Officers and ensure the public purse isn't used to pay for some dodgy outfit run from a warehouse in Wilts. I am absolutely positive Security Guards are not the people to be let loose with our powder keg of a nation.

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