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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 February 2008, 15:53 GMT
Funding threat for beat officers
Police on patrol
The force wants 200 more officers on the beat
Devon and Cornwall's police chief has warned that changes in the way forces are funded could threaten plans to put 200 more officers on the beat.

A new funding formula proposed by government could see money diverted to urban forces.

Chief Constable Stephen Otter said the new Home Office proposals could cost the counties' force about 2.5m, jeopardising extra front-line officers.

The Home Office said no decision had been made yet about funding changes.

Civilian staff

Putting more police officers on the beat is central to the chief constable's vision for the future of the force.

His five-year vision involves bringing in more civilians to release officers onto the front line.

But Stephen Otter is concerned a new funding formula proposed by government adviser and HM Inspector of Constabulary Sir Ronnie Flanagan may endanger that if money is diverted from rural forces.

Stephen Otter said although it was not guaranteed that the force would lose funding, he was concerned changes could affect his plans.

Community engagement

He said: "I need to say first of all that I'm not sure we may lose that money, but it will have a major impact on the work that we're doing.

"We are putting more officers out on the streets that are more visible and more engaging in local communities, which is, ironically, at the heart of the Flanagan report."

Sir Ronnie Flanagan presented the final report of his review of policing to the Home Secretary earlier this month.

The Home Office said that no decision had been made on the future of police funding.

A spokesman said that the home secretary was considering the Flanagan report and would decide which recommendations to adopt in due course.

SEE ALSO
Council tax increase for police
15 Feb 08 |  England
Chief plans more police on beat
19 Sep 07 |  Cornwall

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