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Cambridgeshire police looking to put 40 more bobbies on the beat

By Adrian Curtis

Police chief wants 40 more bobbies on the beat
Police chief wants 40 more bobbies on the beat

A tier of management to leave through natural wastage across the county

Cambridgeshire’s police chief is set to tackle a huge rise in demand on his force by eradicating a tier of senior management and putting 40 extra bobbies on the beat.

Chief Constable Alec Wood told the Cambridge Independent that he would oversee an internal review that is aimed at paying for the new constables through natural wastage of retiring senior professionals.

And he is hopeful that a more favourable government grant will enable the county’s force to recruit even more new officers.

“We would look to reduce the managerial and supervisory costs in order to bring 30 or 40 frontline constables into Cambridgeshire – it is a rebalancing exercise,” he said.

“If we were to get a better-than-anticipated settlement from the Government then, of course, our intention is to increase that number even further. But we don’t find out what our grant will be until December. Between 30 and 40 more officers is what I envisage, but it could be more.

“We have got a significant number of retirements coming up over the next two years. It will mean a reduction that will happen relatively quickly. What we really need is more boots on the streets.”

His view is backed by the county’s police and crime commissioner, Jason Ablewhite, who believes the strategy will help them tackle new forms of criminal activity, including cybercrime.

“The proposed model means you would have fewer senior officers at the end of the process. So a tier of senior managers will be going,” said Mr Ablewhite.

“If we look at our financial challenges over the coming years, we’ve got to save £8.4million over the planned period.

“Police officers cannot be made redundant, so what the constabulary will do is take advantage of a lot of senior officers who are up to their 30-year service over the next year – they will disappear anyway. It is natural wastage and they won’t be replaced.

“The idea is we could save up to £20million through this process, which means we would have a surplus which we could then reinvest in our front line, which is where I think our public expects it to be.”

Mr Ablewhite added: “Crime is changing. Take, for example, cybercrime: four years ago it wasn’t a massive problem, but now we have a whole team dedicated to tackling it.”

Chief Constable Wood’s review is expected to be completed by September, with the results being implemented from the autumn.


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