Critics say Warwickshire Police's plan to cut civilian staff will take bobbies off the beat - The Rugby Observer

Critics say Warwickshire Police's plan to cut civilian staff will take bobbies off the beat

Rugby Editorial 24th Nov, 2020 Updated: 24th Nov, 2020   0

CRITICS have urged a rethink of Warwickshire Police’s plan to make around 85 civilian staff members redundant, claiming officers will be taken off the beat to replace them.

The force says it is ‘revisiting the balance of officers and staff working across some of our teams’ as part of its ‘ongoing transformational change programme’.

But opponents claim it will result in officers being put behind desks, and say it is ‘a questionable use of public money’ which will put the public at risk.

The plans, tabled by Warwickshire’s Chief Constable, would make 56 investigators, nine domestic abuse risk officers, 10 intelligence officers and 10 multi-agency support hub staff redundant.

Deputy Chief Constable Richard Moore said: “We are consulting with staff presently on a plan that would see more police officers, in particular in investigative roles, allowing full use of police powers. Regrettably this will need a reduction of police staff posts in a small number of affected areas.

“We will now enter a period during which we will consult members of our workforce on the proposals alongside our staff associations and Unison. In the meantime some the proposals based around reorganisation of teams to improve operational effectiveness will be implemented at the earliest opportunity.

“Day-to-day policing in the county will continue and over time we hope that these changes will only continue to enhance our services to the public and ensure we are force that is fit for the future, protecting people from harm throughout this decade and beyond.”

But Labour’s candidate for Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has written to the Conservative incumbent Philip Seccombe, urging him to intervene.

Ben Twomey – who was due to stand against Mr Seccombe in May before the pandemic delayed the election by a year – said: “The officers who replace them will not be out on the streets walking the beat, but in offices.

“Perhaps before people lose their jobs, the Commissioner might ask his Conservative government to reverse the cuts they have made to Warwickshire Police over the last ten years.”

Coun Helen Adkins, Leader of the Labour Group on Warwickshire County Council, added: “I am completely opposed to these cuts.

“The Conservatives ran on a promise of increasing police numbers, but instead they are overseeing further cuts that will put the safety of residents in Warwickshire at risk.

“We should be investing in our safety, not putting it further at risk. The Conservative leadership in Warwickshire must reconsider this and prioritise public safety.”

Public services union UNISON said police staff carry out essential duties which enable officers to be visible on the streets of the county.

UNISON West Midlands regional organiser Charlie Sarell said: “Around 125 posts have been redesignated as police officer posts. Police staff can do these roles and free up officers to get out on the streets, where the public can be reassured by their presence.

“The move to back-fill redundant police staff roles with new police officers recruited under the government’s flagship 20,000 police officer uplift also gives the lie to the Prime Minister’s promise that these newly recruited police officers would be out on the streets fighting crime.”

The union has urged policing minister Kit Malthouse to provide urgent funding so Warwickshire can retain its police staff.

Over the last 18 months Warwickshire Police, supported by the PCC and the national officer uplift programme, has taken the force from its lowest ever number of officers to a projected record high of nearly 1,100 in 2022.

Mr Seccombe, who has declined to comment on the new redundancy plan, said in December last year: “It has always been my aspiration to see Warwickshire Police brought back up to strength.

“Together with the additional officer numbers promised by the government, I am sure that the public will start to see the difference that these extra boots on the ground will bring.”


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