Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Outgoing Hampshire Chief Constable Alex Marshall warns on cuts

Hampshire Constabulary's outgoing chief constable Alex Marshall
Image caption Mr Marshall is to take on a new role as chief executive of the National College of Policing

Hampshire's outgoing chief constable has warned further cuts to budgets could seriously impact police services.

Alex Marshall oversaw a reduction of more than 800 posts, but said more major cuts would be "very difficult".

He said he was proud of his record in reducing burglary but had wanted to do more to cut alcohol-related violence.

Mr Marshall is leaving the force to become the chief executive of the new National College of Policing.

He started a five year fixed-term contract as Hampshire's top officer in 2008, just days before the banking collapse led to a squeeze in public sector finances.

The force needs to save between £50 and £70m by 2015.

"You've got to watch every line of your costs - we've already reduced the numbers of our buildings. We are working in partnership with surrounding forces, local authority and the fire service," he said.

He said his priority had been to maintain a "local visible policing element" despite the budget cuts.

"At the moment it looks sustainable, but if there are further big cuts it would be very difficult indeed," he said.

'Further and faster'

Crime across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight fell by 2.9% in 2011-12 compared with the previous year, according to Hampshire Constabulary.

Criminal damage was down 8.9%, house burglary fell 4% and there were 12.8% fewer vehicle crimes.

Mr Marshall said alcohol-related violence remained a key issue.

"While it has fallen a lot in the last year, it is still too high. I still wish I could have gone further and faster on alcohol related violence and I'm sure my successor will pick up that issue."

Mr Marshall is to take on a new role as chief executive of the National College of Policing, responsible for overseeing training standards for all police in the UK.

He said plans to reduce the starting salaries of police officers could reduce the quality of new recruits.

"We'll still get plenty of applicants to join, my concern would be would we get people with life experience, who perhaps have been in another job for five or ten years.

"They are the sort of people we've been getting recently - I would hope they would not be put off by that salary."

Hampshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes has chosen deputy chief constable Andy Marsh to take over from Mr Marshall.

The selection will go before the Hampshire Police and Crime Panel for approval on Friday.

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