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15 September 2010, 17:55
Sussex Police Chief Constable Martin Richards has spoken of "putting the public at the heart of policing" as he builds a force fit for the future and faces the challenge of the £52 million budget cuts expected by 2015.
The five year plan to reduce spending while providing the best possible service to the people of Sussex is well underway, under the Serving Sussex 2015 programme of work. The precise amount the Force will have to save will not be known until sometime after the Government's autumn spending review.
Chief Constable Richards explained: "The spending challenge provides an opportunity for us to put people, not paperwork, at the heart of policing. This means focusing on what matters most to the public and freeing our officers and staff from bureaucracy to do just that.
The Chief Constable speaks to Heart (interview recorded Tuesday Sept 14th)
"Jobs cuts are inevitable for both police officers and staff, but we aren't simply becoming a smaller Force, we're fundamentally changing the way we police to put people at the centre of all we do. This means unburdening officers and staff from unnecessary paperwork and process, freeing them to use their initiative and respond to local needs.
"The budgetary situation is not of our making and public organisations across the country are facing similar challenges. But although we have no choice in saving money, we're working hard to ensure that improving the way we police is our driving principle, not desperate cost-cutting.
"We’re working closely with the Police Authority to scrutinise where we can streamline processes. Of course we don’t want any of our people to lose their jobs, but this is a reality when faced with spending cuts of this magnitude."
Current estimates show that there are likely to be 1,050 posts affected, of which 500 are police officer roles, but Mr Richards stressed that the Force is still "a long way from final decisions".
At the moment the force has three thousand one hundred and sixty five officers and two thousand six hundred and seventy four staff, including CPSOs
He added: "We are still in the very early stages of this process and these are the best estimates possible at this time. Specific roles that could be affected have not yet been identified. We are keeping the Police Federation, Unison and other staff organisations fully aware as the project progresses, so they can assist in supporting anyone likely to be affected."
Steve Waight, Vice-Chairman of Sussex Police Authority, said: "There are some very tough decisions that have had to be made in order to achieve necessary savings, and further difficult choices are still to come.
"Working closely with Sussex Police, the Police Authority has already made some key decisions to make savings and these post reductions are an inevitable part of this process. The October meeting of the Police Authority will be a difficult one where hard choices and the further realities of the budget savings will be discussed.
"Whilst the Police Authority will seek to ensure that the quality of policing in Sussex is not affected, undoubtedly difficult judgments will need to be made which may result in changes to the way Sussex is policed in the future."
This was released on Wednesday Sept 15th
Applications by potential police community support officers (PCSOs) are being frozen, a force announced today.
Sussex Police said it was contacting 116 people to inform them that their bids to become PCSOs have been withdrawn.
Chief Constable Martin Richards said those people will be ``incredibly disappointed'' but that it was due to a situation ``not of our making''.