Police chief warns about cuts to service and possible job losses when budget is announced

Alec Wood in line to be Cambridgeshire Constabulary's new chief constable

Alec Wood in line to be Cambridgeshire Constabulary's new chief constable - Credit: Archant

The new chief constable of Cambridgeshire Constabulary has spoken to The Hunts Post about his policing priorities for the next five years and says he expects to have to make more cuts to the service when the budget is announced in December.

Alec Wood, who joined the Cambridgeshire force as deputy chief constable in 2013, was appointed on September 16, taking over from Simon Parr, who retired at the end of July,

He said the appointment was a “huge honour and a privilege” and not something he was going to “take lightly”.

Mr Wood acknowledged that his priorities would have to be balanced against budget considerations and confirmed the service could be forced to cut backroom staff in order to achieve cost savings imposed by central government.

The Home Office will announce the police budget in December and the force is already preparing for a worst case scenario.

“We have saved £24million since 2010 and the Home Office has asked us to prepare to make more savings. We think it may be around £9million, but it could be more. We know it is not going to be easy, but our aim is to deliver the best possible service, but we have to do that in the knowledge that we still have to save money.”

Mr Wood said collaborating with other forces to share resources and the use of technology had both been identified as areas where savings could be made.

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“Our focus is protecting our main front-line services and making sure we are efficient, which means collaborating as much as we can with other forces, and using technology as a solution to back office roles. The harsh reality is that we are talking about jobs.”

Technology is being used to a greater degree in today’s force and Mr Wood confirmed that officers now use an electronic version of the pocket notebook.

“This can be used to really good effect as officers can take a photograph or a video clip at the scene of a crime.”

Mr Wood said his policing priorities were centred around protecting the vulnerable, which included the elderly, and victims of domestic violence and child abuse. He also wants to tackle burglary, which he described as a “blight on people’s lives”.

“Elderly people are very vulnerable and if they become victims of burglary, they may no longer feel safe in their homes and this can have a devastating affect on them and in some cases even shorten their lives.”