South Yorkshire Police to lose another 400 jobs

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News: Sheffield Telegraph online 24-hours a day.

SOUTH Yorkshire Police will have cut 1,010 jobs by 2015 to meet the Government’s £43m budget cuts, according to an inspection report this week.

The force has already shed 600 officers and civilian staff since March 2010 – but has to lose another 400 jobs, says a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.

Some 13 police station front counters will also have been closed.

The county’s police managers are praised for “making good progress” in planning for the budget cuts, after already saving £15m of the £43m required.

But the report – entitled Policing in Austerity: One Year On – found South Yorkshire is employing a smaller proportion of staff in frontline jobs than other forces.

Some 330 of the jobs to be cut by the next General Election will be police officer posts, a reduction of 11%.

Backroom cuts are even more severe. Seven hundred civilian positions – 29% – are earmarked for the axe.

HM Inspector of Constabulary for the northern region, Roger Baker, said: “South Yorkshire Police have put in place a comprehensive change programme to manage the reductions in its budget. As a result they are in a good position to achieve their savings target by March 2015.

“The force plans to increase the proportion of its police officers dedicated to frontline policing and it should continue to focus on this as its plans develop.”

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “The overall reduction in staffing for the period up to 2015 is slightly higher than the national average and this reflects the higher savings required by the Government from forces such as South Yorkshire Police because of the way we are funded.

“The force is currently increasing its strength by 110 new police officer recruits not reflected in HMIC’s figures plus another 22 police community support officers and this is clear evidence the force continues to make frontline capability a priority.

“We are also planning significant increases in the number of our special constables to bolster operational capacity.

“Despite the effect of budget cuts, fewer total staff and fewer frontline police officers, crime continues to show a healthy decline and is currently 11% lower than it was at this time last year and overall is down by 31% in the last five years.”