Police chiefs deny drastic cut in jobs

POLICE chiefs in South Yorkshire have denied planning to axe 103 officer and 278 staff posts next year - after a letter from the force was leaked.

The letter, sent to workers' unions 10 days ago detailing the impact Government funding cuts could have on the force, contains a number of draft proposals on how savings could be made.

They include reducing the number of staff and officers working in the force's Major Incident Team, which deals with murders; reducing the number of enquiry desks open to the pubic in Sheffield from nine to three; and reducing the number of officers in the force's road crime unit.

Another proposal mentioned is to reduce the number of crime scene exhibits submitted for forensic analysis.

The letter was sent to union representatives as a draft discussion document to gauge opinions after the Government announced the force is to lose 40 million in funding over the next four years.

Bosses have already publicly announced that 80 jobs have to go over the next year and all South Yorkshire Police employees have been offered the chance of applying for voluntary redundancy.

They say the contents of the letter do not reflect the force's latest position.

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: "South Yorkshire Police are discussing with unions and staff associations the potential reductions in numbers of officers and staff across the force.

"This letter pre-dates our latest plans and the voluntary severance scheme being offered to staff.

"At this stage in the process it would be inappropriate to comment in detail on something that is no more than a draft discussion document.

"The force has already made it clear that we will need to lose 80 officers over the next 15 months.

"We have not made any decisions as to where these posts will come from.

"In respect of staff positions, rather than police officers, we may move people into different roles to avoid compulsory redundancies.

"Information in this letter is neither the final position nor accurate beyond the outline of this discussion.

"Over the last two years we have lost around 200 officer posts and our performance, service and public confidence have all continued to improve."