AS many as 35 police posts are to be made redundant in Cheshire in order to make savings of more than £8 million this year.
The job losses come as Cheshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner John Dwyer had his budget plans approved by the Police and Crime Panel last week.
Commissioner Dwyer has stated that the redundancies will not affect frontline officers and vowed to invest any available funds made through budgetary savings into strengthening policing in the region.
“The panel supported my Police and Crime Plan which means that I can now start to deliver the commitments made in the plan and in my manifesto, upon which I was elected. I represent all the people of Cheshire, regardless of their politics,” said Commissioner Dwyer.
He added: “The first promise that I will deliver will be a ‘root and branch’ review of efficiencies in the constabulary which, I hope will identify more savings which can be reinvested in the front-line.
“Whilst my budget identifies the necessary £8.3m savings required this year, following a managed process of the reduction of 37 officers through retirement and leavers, the budget will allow for the recruitment of 21 new police officers.
“Police Community Support Officer numbers will be maintained at 222, subject to partners continuing to fund them where applicable.”
The panel also supported Commissioner Dwyer’s proposals to raise the council tax precept by 1.99 per cent, which equates to an average of 6p per week for a Band D property.
Labour councillor for Hoole Alex Black, who sits on the Cheshire Police and Crime Panel, backed the proposals by Commissioner Dwyer, stating that “tough choices had to be made”.
Cllr Black said: “He (Dwyer) didn’t really have much choice with the budget.
“All the planning had been done in advance of his arrival, months before.
“Police forces up and down the country are having to make similar savings and he has a very difficult job on his hands.
“I do support the budget proposals put forward, although it looks like there will be an unavoidable loss of police posts.
“The commissioner pledged to protect frontline officers and he has kept true to his word.
“It is positive news that there are plans to invest in improving our frontline services.”