Warning on cuts to the police

A POLICE authority has warned that proposals for changes in police pay must not be allowed to divert attention from the unprecedented cuts in funding and staffing being faced by forces nationwide.

Councillor Dave McLuckie, chairman of Cleveland Police Authority, was speaking after the publication of proposals for changes in police pay from the former rail regulator Tom Winsor and figures from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) showing that there will be an estimated 28,000 job losses in the police service in England and Wales over the next four years.

The Winsor report sets out a range of changes in police pay structures which it says will produce savings of £485m over three years, these include cutting police overtime by £60m a year and freezing pay increments for two years.

Coun McLuckie said: “I do not believe that anyone connected with the police service would deny that there is a case for reviewing pay structures. But at the same time no-one should be under the illusion that the proposals announced are unconnected with the Government’s plans to make massive cuts in its police funding, amounting to 20 per cent or more over four years.

“They are inextricably linked and I believe that the vast majority of the public recognise that fact, and also recognise that cuts on the scale proposed will inevitably impact on the quality of service they receive.

“Cutting overtime costs sounds very appealing, but the reality is that, in common with every other force and authority, here in Cleveland we have taken steps to reduce overtime spending in order to meet the impact of the funding cuts and less overtime does actually mean less resources to tackle crime, reduce anti-social behaviour and improve the quality of life for the communities we serve.

“The figures from ACPO underline the scale of the job losses across the country. In Cleveland, while we will have to reduce our officer establishment by 155 in the coming year, we have been able to protect our front-line resources, largely through our partnership with Steria for delivering support services and further civilianisation of posts previously undertaken by officers.”