Northumbria Police sheds 450 civilian posts

A North East police force is axing 450 civilian posts in the wake of budget cuts, it has been announced.

Northumbria Police is shedding the jobs to cope with the loss of £34m from its budget, which was revealed in the government spending review.

Chief constable Sue Sim said police officer jobs would not be affected and that many of the posts would be lost through natural turnover.

But union leaders condemned the move and said streets would be less safe.

The force employs about 4,100 police officers as well as 2,500 police staff, special constables and community support officers.

Police staff have been told they can apply for voluntary redundancy, take early retirement or reduce the hours they work.

'Challenging times'

The force has already frozen recruitment and launched a series of reviews to identify other ways of saving money.

Ms Sim said: "I am absolutely committed to maintaining frontline policing and the services we offer to our communities.

"I will protect as far as possible the number of neighbourhood and response officers who work direct with the public.

"There is no doubt we have tough decisions to make and that these are challenging times."

Dave Prentis, of Unison, said: "All across the country, forces are drawing up plans for job losses, driven by the coalition's decision to cut public spending hard and fast.

"There are real alternatives to the cuts that would have allowed funding for the police service, saved jobs, and helped to keep our streets safe.

"The coalition government should be taking action on tax loopholes, making the bankers pay their fair share towards the recovery."

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