Stoke & Staffordshire

Staffordshire Police job cuts 'bring £8m surplus'

Job cuts at Staffordshire Police have created an £8m surplus, the deputy chief constable has said.

The surplus has been created through people leaving the force earlier than expected. Last year it was revealed almost 800 jobs could go by 2015.

The "reshaping the force fund" is made up of £4m savings from last year, with the same predicted for this year.

About half has been earmarked to fund future redundancies. The force faces a budget cut of £38.7m over four years.

Some of the £8m will be spent on improving inefficient buildings and a vehicle recognition system, the police said.

Deputy Chief Constable Douglas Paxton said officers would also have a say where the money is spent.

'Challenging financial landscape'

"We have saved money sooner than we anticipated," said Mr Paxton.

"This is because some people have chosen to leave earlier than they have to.

"This certainly doesn't mean all of our difficulties are over but it does create some opportunities over the next couple of years.

"Sadly this does not alter our need to shrink the organisation further in the long run.

"It's not a sum of money that will recur every year, so sadly one of the things we can't do with it is employ staff because that would clearly bring a financial burden every single year.

"This presents us with a real opportunity - in a severely challenging financial landscape - to smooth the passage to a smaller, more streamlined and affordable organisation."

Andy Adams, chairman of the Staffordshire Police Federation, which represents rank and file police officers, said: "We want the money to be spent on frontline policing.

"Anything really that makes it easier for officers to stay out on the street rather than having to return to the office."

Figures supplied to the force by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary last June showed up to 384 police officer jobs could go by 2015, along with 387 civilian staff and 25 community police officers.

It was said the force might also merge some teams with West Midlands Police.

As part of a national policy, officers with more than 30 years' service have been expected to leave.

In October, chief Constable Mike Cunningham said he was encouraging officers to look at alternatives to making arrests.

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