No new Greater Manchester officers to save £6.9m

Image caption,
Mr Fahy said staff morale has been affected by the cuts

Greater Manchester Police chiefs have put a freeze on recruiting new officers as part of efforts to save £6.9m.

The move, decided by the Greater Manchester Police Authority (GMPA), means retiring officers will not be replaced.

It follows a reduction in the annual police grant announced as part of the coalition's £6.2bn of spending cuts.

Chief Constable Peter Fahy said the force hoped get more officers on the streets by "working more efficiently".

GMPA chairman Paul Murphy insisted the public would not see the effect of the cuts.

Chairman Paul Murphy said: "Can I give an assurance to the people of Greater Manchester that we're not looking at cuts in police or police staff.

"Currently the situation is difficult, we've had 10 very good years. Now the tough times are with us and we're having to make those cutbacks - and considerable cutbacks they are."

The chief constable said that removing officers from office jobs and reducing bureaucracy would also be undertaken.

"Eighty-six per cent of my budget is spent on people and if we want to make significant savings in policing there is only one way of doing it - which is to reduce the size of the workforce," said Mr Fahy.

"I think there will be fewer uniformed police officers and police officers overall… but the crucial thing is will be there more operational? And I think there will.

"It's very much looking at those back office areas making sure that's where we take the cost out, be more efficient, so therefore you can actually increase the number of police officers [on the streets]."

Greater Manchester Police officers remain committed to reducing crime, Mr Fahy added, but he admitted the budgetary constraints were affecting his staff.

"We've got the lowest crime in Manchester for ten years, the lowest gun crime for eight years. We are really determined as a force to make sure we maintain that record," said Mr Fahy.

"It is having a big impact on the morale in the force and the way it is affecting people. But I know the force is also determined to continue our record."

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