Cambridgeshire police chief warns of Government cuts

THE county’s police chief has joined other public sector bosses in warning that Government spending cuts will impact on “frontline” services.

Chief constable Julie Spence, speaking after George Osborne’s emergency budget last week, said “significant trimming” of the Government’s grant paid to Cambridgeshire police this year meant senior officers were already seeking ways of saving cash. However, the head of the force said in her regular internet podcast that they now know “just how much [they] have to tighten [their] belts”.

She said: “I think we all knew that the cuts, when they came, would be tough. What we weren’t quite expecting was the significant �1.2 million trimming of this year’s government grant to the force.”

A budget task force has been set up to examine suggestions for economising and Mrs Spence has already ordered a freeze in recruitment “for the foreseeable future”, as well as a “root and branch review” of the way overtime is managed.

She explained that all of this was in a bid to protect policing in the county’s communities but there WILL be an impact on frontline services if the anticipated further cuts do materialise.

Mrs Spence added that frontline staff did not just include police officers on the beat but call takers, crime scene investigators, fingerprint experts and staff who manage the force’s infrastructure, such as recruitment and pay, finances and IT.

“The officer or PCSO on the street could not do their job without these key people behind them,” she said. “They are all part of the modern day frontline.”

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Cambridgeshire police has also reviewed the opening hours of its police stations and are close to announcing new opening times, which would “do away with the needless practice” of having front desks manned unnecessarily.