Lancashire Police plans to cut further £20m from budget

Three police officers - generic The proposals include losing senior staff members

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Plans to save a further £20m have been revealed by Lancashire police.

The force has already had to save £43m due to government budget cuts, which resulted in the loss of about 500 police officers.

That figure has now been increased to £60m, but Chief Constable Steve Finnegan said changes can be made that will not affect frontline policing.

His proposals include losing one of three Assistant Chief Constable posts and four Chief Superintendent roles.

The force has already made £40m of the initial £43m it was asked to save, so now has to save a further £20m. About £10.5m of that needs to be saved by April 2014.

Mr Finnegan's scheme to restructure the constabulary is planned to be implemented by April next year.

'Challenging times'

The plans also include reducing the number of regional divisions from six to three, with the new divisions being Western and Northern, Southern and Central and Eastern and Pennine.

Analysis

There was a time when the government was keen to promote what they were doing to help the police. How things have changed.

Lancashire Police face a difficult task in finding a further £20m of savings. The plan to merge the various divisions might not cause too much upset but there might be further concerns if there is an impact on the frontline.

It's no surprise the Police Federation is worried about any review of the units which deal with specialist crimes. The force has a decent track record but now in 2013 it faces its biggest challenge.

The force's G Division, which includes the Force Major Investigation Team and the Serious and Organised Crime Unit, will be reviewed with a view to cutting costs.

The H Division, which includes the operational side such as the road policing units and armed response, will have some resources split across the divisions.

Mr Finnigan said these further savings pose a huge challenge and will mean the biggest change in the running of the force since 1996.

He said: "Changing our senior management structure in this way means that we can recognise significant savings without impacting on frontline policing or the services we provide to the public.

"As I have said many times, we will do all that we can to protect the frontline during these difficult and challenging financial times and this option allows us to do that."

The Chair of the Lancashire Police Federation Rachel Baines said she was concerned at the impact of the cuts.

"It really is quite shocking," she said.

"It will see a total reconstruction of the design of the police force that we have had for many years.

"There is no doubt that you cannot take £10.5m out of a budget of our size without seeing a further reduction in the number of police officers, and a further reduction in the number of police staff that support us in what we do."

Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, Clive Grunshaw, said: "Lancashire is a high-performing force and I want to see the continuation of high-quality policing services that are flexible and responsive to local people's needs.

"I will be monitoring the process closely."

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