Hereford & Worcester

West Mercia police to make further budget cuts of £22m

West Mercia police will have to make further cuts of £22m over the next five years, new figures have revealed.

The force has already cut more than 200 jobs and closed police stations as part of plans to save £20.1m by 2015.

It also set up an alliance with Warwickshire Police to achieve combined savings of about £30m.

Draft budget proposals published by the force's police and crime commissioner claim that the force will have to make the extra savings by 2019.

Deputy PCC Barrie Sheldon said the extra cuts were due to a reduction in government funding.

'Long term stability'

He said it had not yet been decided how the extra savings would be made but "everything would be done to save officer's jobs".

"We want some stability in the long term so whatever challenges we face with the cuts we will maintain that front line of policing," he said.

The PCC is proposing to increase the police element of the council tax precept by 2% from April to raise an extra £1.7m a year.

The budget report also said that police reserves currently stand at about £49m but £36m of that would be spent over the next five years.

As part of the alliance between West Mercia and Warwickshire Police it was announced last June that 650 jobs would be lost.

The number of staff across both forces will be reduced from 5,400 to 4,750 by April 2016, with the number of PCs being cut from 2,300 to 2,210.

The forces have also pooled resources including support services like IT and HR.

West Mercia Police is also in the process of closing 33 police stations and buildings to save £1.5m.

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