Police officers in South Yorkshire are being offered voluntary redundancy in a bid to cut costs.
South Yorkshire Police is offering bobbies the chance to leave the force with a redundancy pay out, with bosses aiming to replace them with new officers on lower wages.
The force is set to lose £2.5 million in government funding over the next year.
Police chiefs claim the aim of the voluntary redundancy scheme is not to reduce police officer numbers, but the cost of wages.
Losing officers at the top of their pay grade and replacing them with new recruits saves £100,000 per officer over six years.
Bosses claim it is an opportunity for the force to refresh its 'talent pool'.
Zuleika Payne, of the South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation, said: "While a severance scheme may serve to achieve what is required of the organisation in a fiscal sense, ultimately South Yorkshire Police stand to lose vast swathes of experience and expertise.
"As a staff association we are acutely aware of the detrimental effect that these continual cuts will have upon our officers in relation to their welfare and safety.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “The main reason why we offering the voluntary exit scheme is to support our cost saving plan, this is achieved by replacing longer serving officers at the top of their pay point with new recruits.
"This is an important tool to allow those who want to leave, as there are limited opportunities to do so other than ill health retirement, normal retirement and misconduct.
"Strict decision criteria are applied in order that we do not lose critical skills, such as specialist investigation, during the process, that we maintain key services and that a genuine cost saving is made so that this can be reinvested in suitable replacements.”