Berkshire

Spending Review: Force chief warns of service cuts

Chief Constable Sara Thornton
Image caption Chief Constable Thornton would not speculate on how many jobs would go

The Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police has warned a 16% cut in police budgets could lead to "noticeable reductions in service".

Chief Constable Sara Thornton said: "I have always felt that a cut of more than 10% will be very difficult."

The 16% cut revealed in the Spending Review is spread over the next four years. She said the force would try to ensure frontline services were not hit.

The Police Federation said frontline service cuts were "almost inevitable".

Ms Thornton said: "Thames Valley Police won't find out our actual central police grant for the coming years until December, so I am unable to speculate on how many roles may go and whether there will be any redundancies or cuts to frontline services at this stage.

"We will also be looking at taking out a layer of management in our Basic Command Units (BCU) [covering Oxfordshire, Berkshire East, Berkshire West, Buckinghamshire, and Milton Keynes] and streamlining processes.

"This is not without difficulty and the county councils involved will have a view about this, but we think that an extra layer of management is a layer we won't be able to afford in the new situation."

She added: "This is a challenging time for all police forces, and Thames Valley Police are trying to make sure that we cut our budget but not our service by ensuring we are already prepared to make large budget cuts while trying to ensure frontline services are not affected."

The force already share services like forensics and IT systems with Hampshire Constabulary, which it says saves about £6m a year.

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