900 police jobs could go say unions

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AROUND 900 jobs could be shed by South Yorkshire Police over the next four years, according to union bosses.

Unison has asked police authorities across the country for predictions of the scale of job losses expected in the wake of Government funding cuts - which will see South Yorkshire’s police budget slashed by around £40 million over four years.

South Yorkshire Police Authority yesterday agreed a budget of £256.95m for 2011/12.

Charles Perryman, chair of the Authority, said: “Developing a financial strategy for the next four years has been a completely different proposition from anything previously encountered.

“Policing services are facing not only cuts in grant funding but also potential loss of financial and other types of support from partners, at a time when demands could increase caused by reductions in other public services.”

The force has already announced 80 jobs will have to go over the next year, and all staff have been given the chance to apply for voluntary redundancy.

But bosses have not yet said how many jobs they expect to axe altogether. Unison claims altogether 300 officers and 600 civilians could go.

Dave Prentis, Unison General Secretary, said: “All across the country thousands of police staff are losing their jobs, and the worry is this is the tip of the iceberg. The public need to know the danger of cutting jobs.”

n UNION reps have warned 65 jobs in South Yorkshire’s probation service may be cut as Government funding cuts begin to bite.

South Yorkshire Probation Trust has been asked to find 10 per cent savings over four years - but the unions say the cuts may be deeper.

Unison convener Neil Richardson said: “We’ve had more than 100 posts cut over two years. That’s led to excessive workloads and less face-to-face working with offenders. Now workers are to be told our communities don’t need their services.”

The trust is to finalise its budgets in the coming days.