Send us news by text, start your message World News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Police could work at fire stations as £7m budget cuts bite
POLICE officers could soon work from fire stations as drastic cuts of £7 million of budget cuts have to be found this year.
Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner John Dwyer is considering closing police stations as he reviews the force’s assets.
Speaking at the police HQ in Winsford last night, Mr Dwyer said: ““We’re facing a significant gap in funding.
“There are big challenges ahead and we have to do things differently.”
Mr Dwyer will set next year’s budget in March.
Based on an increase of two per cent in council tax police precept, savings identified include axeing 38 police officers, 35 police staff and cutting overtime by £230,000.
Chief constable David Whatton told business leaders that although the Government was enforcing cuts, a lot of central direction had been removed, which will help Cheshire save money.
Mr Whatton said: ““There has been collaboration with other forces and we’re working smarter.
“Cheshire has one of the lowest management costs in the country.
Despite the cuts, Mr Whatton said his staff are very proud of their achievements in continuing to reduce crime.
Unlike other forces, Mr Whatton confirmed that there are no plans to make long-serving police officers compulsorily retire.
He added: “We can’t make police officers redundant but other forces have made them retire.
“There are no plans for this in the next financial budget but we will review this every year.”
Seven weeks into the jop, Mr Dywer said he had formed a good relationship with the chief constable and they held regular meetings.
Mr Dwyer said: “We’re never going to be big buddies. We have a professional relationship, but it’s not cosy.”
One of Mr Dwyer’s aims is for Cheshire to have an officer in every town and village.
“We will draw from the local community including special constables, after all these people know their communities better than anyone.”
38 fewer police officers – saving £590,00
35 fewer police staff – saving £1,174,000
£230,000 less spent on overtime
£200,000 less spent on building running costs
£150,000 less spent on transport
£320,000 less spent on supplies and equipment
£170,000 less spent on information technology
£2,000,000 less spent supporting major developments (capital expenditure)