Wiltshire

Wiltshire Police chief: Jobs will go to save £3m

Mike Veale Image copyright Wiltshire Police
Image caption Mike Veale took over as chief constable of Wiltshire Police in June

The chief constable of Wiltshire Police has warned jobs will go and hinted more stations may shut as the force bids to make £3m savings in the next 18 months.

Mike Veale also said they would have to be "more ruthless" about the types of crimes police officers attended.

People should expect to see PCSOs attend "less serious" crimes, he said.

Overall police spending in England is to be protected over the next five years but Wiltshire's Home Office grant shrank by about £200,000 for 2016-17.

The grant is the main source of police funding in England although more can be raised locally through the council tax precept.

Wiltshire is getting £37.5m next year - compared with £37.7m this year - and, once inflation is taken into account, the force says it faces a shortfall of up to £3.5m for 2016-17, depending on council tax rises.

"£3m does equate to police officers and police staff reductions. We can't get away from that," he said.

"We need to look at the police estate, how many police stations we have got - and we need to look at the mix of staff, how many police officers and PCSOs [we have].

"We need to be more ruthless and more clinical over the type of offences ... that we deal with."

Further spending cuts could be made through "better deployment" of officers, he said.

"Of course, if you are in danger, if your personal safety is at risk, we will send the right resources, who are highly trained and prepared to deal with those situations," he said.

For the government, Policing Minister Mike Penning said no police and crime commissioner would face a funding cut next year "if precept income is maximised" but said the settlement did not "let forces off the hook or allow them to slow the pace of change" of reform.

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