Cuts won’t hit beat bobbies, pledge police

FRONT-line services in south east Northumberland will not be affected by the millions of pounds’ worth of savings Northumbria Police is being forced to make, according to force chiefs.

Over the next three years, the force will have to cut its costs by more than £57m, £17m of which will come out of the year ahead’s budget.

There will be no reduction in the number of police officers out on the streets, however, according to temporary chief constable Sue Sim, pictured.

She said: “Despite the challenges, our core priorities remain the same – to reduce crime and disorder and to deliver an excellent service to our communities.

“I am committed to protecting, as far as possible, front-line policing and to maintaining the numbers of response and neighbourhood officers, including community support officers’ patrols.

“To meet these challenges, we need to fundamentally change the way we deliver our service to ensure we offer value for money without compromising our high standards.”

At a budget meeting last week, force chiefs and the police authority agreed a package of measures to cut costs.

These include a cut in the number of officers and other staff, scrutinising expenditure throughout the force and making savings on support services.

Authority chairman Mick Henry said after the meeting: “It’s with a heavy heart that we make these decisions.

“We can improve our police service. We have a very challenging time and are changing our business process to make sure that we give the policing that people have told us they want.”