England

West Mercia budget cut 'not a surprise'

The 5% funding cut West Mercia Police is facing is not "entirely a surprise", the police authority chairwoman says.

The force learnt on Monday that it would lose £7m as the government revealed its cuts to police and council budgets until 2013.

Almost 300 jobs are to go by then to make savings of almost £10m.

Chairwoman Sheila Blagg, said the force had budget "reserves" for this year but could not guarantee protecting front-line policing next year.

'Visible patrol strength'

She said: "We have to look at the fine detail but the actual grant is being reduced by £7m, which is about 5% overall.

"That then equates to £9m or £10m when you take into account the fact that you would have had an inflationary increase on the grant, had it stayed where it was.

"We're not entirely surprised by it.

"We hope... we can protect front-line policing this year but next year is a different story."

In September the force confirmed up to 189 staff roles would be lost along with 98 police officers from various posts across Shropshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire.

None would be lost from "visible patrol strength", most relate to fewer senior officer positions and training staff.

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