More than 700 police staff jobs are to be lost in South Yorkshire in the next four years, a report has revealed.
An updated police and crime plan by South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings shows it is intended the 1,733 support staff currently employed by the force will be reduced to 1,001 by 2020.
The plans states a review is currently under way of the force’s structure which has the intention of reducing administration and support costs, while in the longer-term it is planned police will work more closely with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service and local councils to buy equipment and commission services together in a bid to balance the books.
Proposals also include sharing buildings with the fire service.
Ian Armitage, secretary of Unison’s South Yorkshire Police branch, said the job cuts will have a negative impact in the service the force can provide to the public, with over 200 jobs set to go in the next 12 months alone.
He said: “There is no such thing as backroom staff any more. Those days have gone.
“Everyone working for the organisation now is vital to it - every role, every job is vital to it.
“It will not be the same service as it was 10 years ago or the same service it was yesterday.”
He said police are being told to put more money into providing armed officers and doing anti-terrorist work but are having to pay for it by making cuts to other departments.
“It is a very scary time for the staff and the people of South Yorkshire,” he said.
“These jobs have still got to be done.”
The updated police and crime plan said work has already started on finding ‘new and innovation ways of delivering community safety in partnership with local authorities and other partners’.
Dr Billings, who is standing for re-election next month, said it is clear Government austerity measures are going to continue, affecting the future running of the police force and other public sector bodies.
He said: “Finances will not keep pace with growing costs.
“We will, therefore, have to go on searching for ways of doing things at less cost.
“This is where our partnership with Humberside Police, other forces and other agencies – such as the local authorities and the Fire Service - will help.
“As far as possible, we will share functions, procure equipment and commission services together.”
The report said a review of South Yorkshire Police’s structure is taking place in the first half of the year, with the aim of reducing administrative and support costs.
It added: “Work is already underway to find new and innovative ways of delivering community safety in partnership with local authorities and other partners.
“This is a longer-term piece of work aimed at determining options for the future to be delivered during the financial year 2017/18.”
Dr Billings said: “South Yorkshire Police has faced a time of restructuring and turbulence in recent years in order to make the savings demanded by central Government.
“As other public services face yet further reductions in their funding, some of that will have implications for policing, placing further demand on diminished resources.”