Page last updated at 14:10 GMT, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 15:10 UK

South West England police savings post 'too costly'

Police officer
The project would also see the bulk buying of items including uniforms

Police in south west England have been accused of wasting money by creating a post with a salary of more than £100,000 for a money-saving project.

It brings together the Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire forces.

The project will coordinate operations and also the buying of equipment.

The Police Federation said an extra layer of such management was not needed. Project managers said it would allow more effective policing.

The project will employ a new deputy chief constable to coordinate some policing operations across the five forces - such as counter terrorism - and the buying of equipment, including uniforms and vehicles, to save money.

'Tight times'

The forces would not reveal the salary, but national police bandings for a deputy chief constable suggest it would be between £106,000 and £120,000.

Nigel Rabbits, of the Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said beat officers were not sure why such a post was being created because of the cost.

He said: "There are police officers working day to day and working hard to maintain a good service to the public.

"They will not understand how the money can be found to employ more managers."

Mike Bull, chairman of the Devon and Cornwall Police Authority, who is also involved in the project, said: "We're going to have more effective policing, we're going be more effective regionally working off bigger boundaries.

"We're going to save money on issues like procurement, and the cost is going to be shared across the five authorities, so there's not going to be a dramatic impact on one policing area."

BBC South West's Home Affairs correspondent Simon Hall said the project covered most areas of policing and and demonstrated how concerned chief constables were about their budgets.

He said: "Whatever the make up of the next government, very tight times lie ahead for public spending."

"The region's police forces do need to find significant savings. Devon and Cornwall, for example, plans to cut 180 officers."

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