Dorset Police budget cuts mean 'smaller force'

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Dorset Police Authority has unveiled a series of budget cutting measures as it tries to reduce costs by £18m in the next financial year.

The force needs to shed 530 posts over the next four years, although a recruitment freeze is hoped to reduce the number of job losses.

Dorset Police, which has a £140m budget, imposed the freeze in May 2010.

Chief Constable Martin Baker said in the future the force would have "fewer officers and staff".

He presented some cost-cutting measures at an authority meeting on Friday which included patrol officers moving to new shift patterns from April and officers with specialist roles being redeployed.

New police stations in Bournemouth and Poole are also expected to cut maintenance and estate costs.

The chief constable said Dorset Police was "consistently the worst funded force in the country in terms of government grant per resident".

In an open letter, he said: "There is absolutely no doubt that, as a result of the financial situation in which we find ourselves, Dorset Police will in future have fewer officers and staff. Quite what this will look like in terms of exact numbers is work in progress.

"It is important to recognise that a reduction in the number of people in our workforce does not necessarily equate to that number of individuals losing their jobs or a reduction in our performance."

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