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Staffordshire Chief Constable admits budget cuts will pose policing challenges

Michael Cunningham

Michael Cunningham

The Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police has admitted that the Government’s spending review will pose “major challenges”.

Mike Cunningham made his comments on the back of Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement that budgets for departments – including the police – are to be cut.

And with forces across the country warned that the overall budget must fall by four per cent each year, change will be inevitable.

However Mr Cunningham believes that Staffordshire Police is prepared for the challenges ahead. He explained:

“At this stage, we still do not know the exact detail of what the announcement means for the force. We anticipate that the specific details of Staffordshire Police’s funding settlement will be revealed later next month. Once we have a clear picture we will be better able to understand the implications for service delivery in our county and adapt our plans accordingly.

“However, regardless of this the communities of Staffordshire should be reassured that we have been preparing to meet this challenge for some time. Our Communities First project is making policing in the county more affordable and transforming services so that we continue to deal with the issues that matter to local people.

“Plans to re-structure the force and transform services are already at an advanced stage. From April 2011, the existing set-up of four divisions and 21 Neighbourhood Policing Units (NPUs) will be replaced, by Local Policing Teams (LPTs) based on local council and community safety partnership boundaries. This will provide the bedrock of policing in Staffordshire, creating stronger local identities and value for money services.”

With the axe set to swing, police forces across the country have already been looking at ways to soften the blow.

And Mr Cunningham has said that Staffordshire Police is determined to make cuts that will not impact on the quality of service provided to the public in Lichfield, Burntwood and the rest of the county. He said:

“A massive amount of work is going on to cut back on non-pay costs, such as stationery, overtime, buildings, vehicles and other expenditure. As we move forward with these changes we can only re-emphasise that we are absolutely passionate about delivering high quality policing and all of our decision making will seek to build on that.

“We fully understand that as we change our structure and predict significant savings that this can cause uncertainty. We are working hard to engage with our staff, partners and our communities to keep them informed.”

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