Police funding slashed

FUNDING to both police forces in Comet country has been slashed by nine per cent- with both pledging to “protect front line services”

The cuts were announced this week by Policing Minister Nick Herbert, with Hertfordshire Constabulary and Bedfordshire Police receiving a cut of four per cent from central government in the first 12 months and five the following year.

A spokesman for Hertfordshire Police Authority said: “While we have not yet received all the details for Hertfordshire, it appears to be broadly in line with our projections, which would mean a shortfall of �36m over the next four years.

“In a few weeks time we will have a clearer picture of what our grant settlement means but we remain committed to delivering the best possible police service and our priority is to protect frontline policing services wherever possible.”

Bedfordshire Police has however said it will lose �4m in 2011/12 and �4.9m in 2012/13.

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As 80 per cent of both forces’ budgets is spent on staffing job losses are likely.

Peter Conniff, chairman of Bedfordshire Police Authority, said: “We have been bracing ourselves for this announcement for some time and have already undertaken vital groundwork to minimise the impact of any funding cuts on operational policing.

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“Unfortunately the budget settlement is as challenging as predicted back in October and this means that as a police authority and force we will now need to make difficult decisions to protect as much as possible the frontline policing service we deliver to the public and ensure the safety of our communities.”

In a bid to eases the financial pain of the cuts an alliance between Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire’s forces was announced this week.

The forces will explore opportunities for a range of joint functions in an attempt to build greater efficiency, effectiveness and resilience.

The announcement comes following collaborative work between Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire in recent years with a joint Major Crime Unit, Firearms Support Unit and Dog Unit all in place, with a joint ICT department soon to be implemented.

Stuart Nagler, chairman of Hertfordshire Police Authority, said: “I warmly welcome Cambridgeshire Police Authority’s decision today and look forward to working with our new partners.”

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