Senior officers send letter to Gloucestershire Police Authority

Gloucestershire Constabulary building
Image caption The potential £1.3m cuts would be on top of £18m of savings already agreed

Senior officers have written a letter to Gloucestershire Police Authority expressing concern about possible further cuts.

The Police Superintendents Association said any more reductions would have clear consequences on the force's ability to deliver effective policing.

The potential £1.3m cuts would be on top of £18m of savings already agreed.

Gloucestershire Constabulary said it expected the police authority to support the existing plan.

Det Ch Supt Gavin Thomas, chairman of the Gloucestershire branch of the Police Superintendents Association, said: "If the police authority takes this step, it effectively means another £1.3m out of the police service in Gloucestershire.

'Step too far'

"That would take us back potentially to levels of the 1970s, and we're more than realistic in terms of meeting the cuts.

"This just takes it a step too far in terms of being able to manage that risk.

"Changing it in mid-stream, which is what is being suggested now by the police authority, will mean we will have to rethink the whole thing again around how we actually deliver our policing services."

Rob Garnham, chairman of Gloucestershire Police Authority, said it faced the challenge of increasing its share of council tax by 2.9% for the next three years, or accepting a government offer of £1.3m this year in return for freezing council tax.

"However that cash sum this year will not be built in to the base budget for future years and if accepted we would need to set the constabulary the challenge of finding an additional annual saving of £1.3m," he said.

"The authority is fully supportive of the constabulary as it reorganises to meet the financial challenges it has been set - they are making outstanding efforts to cope with these challenges and we know how hard this has been.

"We understand the uncertainty that many in policing are feeling and their deep concerns."

'Unprecedented moment'

Tony Melville, Gloucestershire Constabulary's chief constable, said: "We have reached an unprecedented moment when senior police leaders in Gloucestershire are writing to the Police Authority to express concern about the impact of dramatic cuts to policing in the county.

"The budget decision has not yet been taken but I too share the concerns that the Superintendent's Association express in their letter.

"I regularly work alongside people in all kinds of roles across the organisation and I can see how stretched they are.

"Our expectation is that the Police Authority will continue to support the plan it has previously agreed."

A decision is due to be made at a public meeting on 9 February.

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