JULIE Spence’s final weeks at the head of Cambridgeshire Police have been spent trying to balance the force’s books in the face of cuts, the Chief Constable revealed this week.

JULIE Spence's final weeks at the head of Cambridgeshire Police have been spent trying to balance the force's books in the face of cuts, the Chief Constable revealed this week.

In her final podcast before she stepped down, she said that the six months since she announced her departure had passed quickly, before "almost out of the blue came the need for unexpectedly large cuts in budgets".

She said: "What should have been a time for taking stock, assessing the changes and improvements made in the past five years and helping to steer colleagues in the right direction has instead become an urgent 24-hour a day mission to balance the books without damaging output, making economies with the least possible impact on the public and our workforce."

Looking back over her tenure as Chief Constable, Mrs Spence said: "To turn a failing force into a successful one, we had to use the skills of the officers and police staff already in place.

"The progress the force has made has been a team effort. Others who work with me, from my ACPO colleagues to the newest PCSO and from fingerprint specialists to technology experts, are the ones who put the plans into action.

"As I say goodbye I thank them for their efforts. I thank the police authority which has supported me, even when it may have had doubts, and I thank the partner agencies and other organisations.

Mrs Spence added that tough times would be in store for the people of Cambridgeshire, in the face of cuts to police budgets, but asked for patience and understanding.

She ended: "More than ever in the coming years, your force will face tougher and leaner times and will be forced into making hard choices demanding even greater understanding and co-operation."