Warwickshire Police say changes have to be made to fit in with tight budget constraints

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A NEW policing model will deliver the maximum protection possible within budget available, according to Warwickshire Police.

The force will operate a new policing model from May 9 this year in order to continue delivering the maximum possible protection to local communities within the resources the force has available.

The force has to reduce its spending by £22.9m by March 31, 2015 in order to continue to operate within a balanced budget.

Delivering local policing, patrol and response and investigation through county-wide teams from May will enable the force to operate a less-costly shift pattern, requiring less officers and buildings, thereby delivering significant cost reductions.

The force has already identified £13.4m of the required savings without impacting on levels of protection for local communities and is currently developing a blueprint to find the additional £9.5m with the minimum additional impact on service delivery that is possible to achieve.

However, as around 80 per cent of the force’s budget is spent on employment costs, the force and Police Authority say they have had to take some tough decisions.

One way of doing this and to assist in reducing numbers the force has implemented Regulation 19, which requires all police officers with 30 years pensionable service to retire.

The force is unable by law to make police officers redundant and further immediate reductions in people costs must come from our police staff as the new policing model will operate with less police officer posts.

A police spokesman said: “This means that we have more police officers now than we need for the new policing model. Therefore to accommodate the additional numbers of police officers we need to reduce police staff numbers.

“This is a temporary measure to assist us in reducing the size of the work force to meet the needs of the new policing model.

“When police officer numbers fall to the required establishment level as a result of A19 and officer retirement, we will be able to recruit police staff to these posts again.”

The force has opened a voluntary redundancy scheme and all members of staff with more than two years continuous service have been invited to consider volunteering for redundancy.

Many of the roles delivered by people who are accepted for voluntary redundancy will still need to be delivered to protect people. The force will therefore temporarily post officers who do not have positions in the new policing model into these roles.

Chief Constable Keith Bristow said: “We value our workforce of committed and talented people. Our police staff fulfil a wide range of crucial policing roles including public facing roles such as Pcsos, scenes of crime officers and those in the communications centre, as well as specialist professional services in areas such as human resources and finance.

“Losing staff is not something we want to do, but something we have to do in order to make the budget cuts required of us.”