Thames Valley Police's search and recovery team axed

Anthony Stansfeld
Image caption Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld said that making the savings "will not be easy"

Thames Valley Police's specialist search and recovery team will be axed in the latest round of cuts.

The team's work includes missing person searches on land and underwater.

Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld said he regretted the move to axe the team, formed in 1956, "very much indeed".

The force, which wants to save £43m over three years, said it would use other police forces' teams or the military instead.

A Thames Valley Police spokeswoman said the force could use private companies if those options were not available.

Of the need for savings she said: "This sadly means we have to consider how we are structured and make any changes we feel necessary."

'Going to be more difficult'

Mr Stansfeld said of the team: "It has been I think a very valuable part of our police force."

He said the force had already made savings of £58m and he had concerns about the plan to save a further £45m.

"It's not going to be easy," he said.

"It is going to be fewer police officers and fewer backroom people, but I never underestimate that if you reduce the overall number by the significant number we have, it is going to be more difficult to police effectively."

The development follows an announcement on Thursday that 147 officer posts would be lost as part of Thames Valley Police's savings drive.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "There is no question police still have the resources to do their important work and police-recorded crime is down 31% in Thames Valley since 2010.

"Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary recently rated Thames Valley as 'good' overall in terms of providing value for money and 'outstanding' for taking the necessary steps to ensure a secure financial position for the short and long term."

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