140 South Yorkshire district police to be axed in £8million cuts

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Some 140 district policing posts across South Yorkshire are set to be cut before April 2016 - with jobs reorganised into ‘local policing teams’ or LPTs.

The force has announced the changes to local policing across Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster to make savings of £8 million in 18 months.

The cuts equate to 15 per cent of inspectors, eight per cent of sergeants and seven per cent of constables, while district teams’ working will be reshuffled.

A force spokesman said: “Response, safer neighbourhood police, and other key policing functions will come together under multi-skilled local policing teams, known as LPTs, with responsibility to solve community problems and manage local demand.

“The teams will serve the same geographical areas covered by current safer neighbourhood teams, and will operate from existing police buildings, overseen by an inspector based in the heart of local communities.”

The force is also planning to create a new centralised CID, with detectives and some central resources based at two ‘hubs’ from where they will deploy to all areas of the county.

But the changes are not the result of the Professor Alexis Jay report into Rotherham child sexual exploitation, nor the HMIC crime integrity report, Chief Supt Rob Odell stressed.

“This process of review has been going on for more than 12 months,” he said.

“I can’t put my finger on any one of these reports and say it was a factor for change. All of these different reporting structures have a role to play.

“The recent HMIC report said we are making great strides, but the process started 12 months before that.”

Mr Odell added the management-to-officer ratios have been ‘levelled out’ across different teams.

The changes will not impact on the child sexual exploitation team or sexual offences teams, said Mr Odell - and in fact those sections of the force are likely to have an increase in staff.

But the cuts will lead to a restructure of the way the force’s district teams work.

Chief Supt Odell added: “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.

“We are hoping the public don’t notice - we will carry on doing our policing in the most efficient way we can.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright declined to comment when contacted by The Star.