Page last updated at 17:31 GMT, Friday, 12 February 2010

Devon and Cornwall Police to shed 180 officer jobs

Chief Constable Stephen Otter hopes the cuts will not impact on the public

One hundred and eighty posts are to be lost at Devon and Cornwall Police as part of budget cuts.

Despite a 5% rise in the police's share of council tax - about £7 a year - public spending cuts mean the force needs to save £14m over three years.

It expects to cut 60 jobs in the coming financial year and a further 120 posts the following two years.

Chief Constable Stephen Otter said everything possible would be done to minimise the impact on the public.

He said the force should be judged on its success and not the number of officers it has.

It is vital that the public judge our success by the service they receive and not the number of officers we have
Chief Constable Stephen Otter

The reduction at the force, which has 3,500 officers, is less than the 300 that Chief Constable Otter had predicted.

The £270m budget is based on receiving no increase in funding between 2011 and 2013 and yearly council increases of 4.95%, but a change of government at the general election could alter that.

Mr Otter said: "It is vital that the public judge our success by the service they receive and not the number of officers we have.

"Whatever our budgetary constraints the public must continue to believe that they get a good level of service from us.

"We are working hard to identify further savings which we can make as an organisation to ensure that we can maintain our current level of policing."

Stephen Tovagliari, from Devon and Cornwall Police Federation, told BBC News it was a difficult time for rank and files members.

"Morale is quite low at the moment - there's concern and anxiety about what's going to happen," he said.

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