South Yorkshire’s under-fire police commissioner Shaun Wright says he is ‘disappointed’ a cut in funding will lead to officers being axed across the region.
A total of 140 policing posts is set to be axed by April 2016 in £8 million of savings – equivalent to 15 per cent of inspectors, eight per cent of sergeants and seven per cent of constables.
District police teams in Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster will be reorganised, while a new centralised CID, with detectives and some central resources based at two ‘hubs’, will deploy to all areas of the county.
Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright – who has refused to leave his post in the wake of the Rotherham child sex exploitation scandal – blamed the reduction on less government money.
He said: “The comprehensive spending review we’ve been implementing has been founded on a basis of protecting officer numbers wherever possible.
“I made a pledge to ensure officer numbers in front line roles were protected, and that ambition has been delivered.
“Though I’m disappointed the 20 per cent reduction in funding to South Yorkshire Police from central government means we have no choice but to make some difficult decisions, I am confident that, due to the new policing structure and additional resources, the effect on the public will be minimised.
“I’m committed to looking at new ways of working to make savings elsewhere rather than savings which impact directly on officer numbers, and this means we’re looking at an overall reduction of nine per cent in officer posts as opposed to some of our neighbouring forces who are at 14 and 17 per cent reductions.”
Chief Superintendent Rob Odell said: “My emphasis is on keeping the best bits of our previous structure, but it’s more flexible with larger, multi-skilled teams, and we are doing it as sensitively as possible, to the least visible effect as possible.”