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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Cuts-hit force risks ‘death by strangulation’ says Cumbria police boss

CUMBRIA’S police force faces “death by strangulation” if the rate of budget cuts continue, the county’s police and crime commissioner has said.

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savings battle Cumbria police and crime commissioner Richard Rhodes, left, and chief constable Jerry Graham address the press at a conference announcing future police budget cuts PAULA PAISLEY ref: 50067435F002

Richard Rhodes spoke out yesterday as it emerged bosses must find £10.4m of savings by 2018.

The latest budget cuts will add to the £16m the constabulary has already saved since the government introduced widespread cuts to public services, and leading figures at Cumbria police are warning the service may not be able to cope with much more.

Mr Rhodes said: “If the current level of cuts continue, maybe it will be a case of death by strangulation. We will be saying to the public, ‘what sort of force do you want and what can we afford.’”

Cumbria’s new chief constable, Jerry Graham admits that frontline services are likely to bear the brunt of the latest round of belt-tightening.

However, the cuts won’t be exclusive to crime fighting personnel as the force say that a number of areas are being reviewed including shift patterns, neighbourhood policing teams, community safety, deployment of PCSOs, administration and front counters.

Mr Graham said: “There are no easy options to make cuts. We have substantially reduced our spend on police staff. Inevitably future cuts will mean the loss of people. Change is required due to budget cuts but I am focused on protecting frontline policing as far as possible. I will continue to work hard to keep Cumbria one of the safest places to live, work, and visit, and provide the best possible policing service we can afford.”

Despite the need to make more savings, Mr Rhodes insists that the force is “not in a state of acute crisis”, adding: “We are not going to go broke at the moment.”

Mr Rhodes and Mr Graham are both against any merger with another police force, and Mr Rhodes has been highlighting budgeting concerns with central government and HMIC.

Mr Rhodes said: “We have much more expenditure running a police force in a rural area.”

The force is yet to reveal more in-depth information about what the cuts could mean for the county, but says it will be embarking on a series of meetings, including public consultations, in the coming months to thrash out the details.

Have your say

In all seriousness boots on the ground in Barrow are few and far between.So whatever cuts are made won't really affect us.

Posted by Nosmo King on 2 September 2014 at 17:46

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