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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 October 2006, 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
Police force set to cut 42 posts
A police force is looking to cut up to 42 posts to help meet a projected budget shortfall for 2007/2008.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire police said the force had also started work to "identify opportunities for savings to be made throughout the organisation".

The spokesman added that a 3.6% limit on increases in police funding was not enough to keep up with increased costs.

It is thought the reduction in the number of officers by 42 posts could save the force about 1.5m.

The number will be reduced by cutting the probationer police officers posts and through natural wastage.

Chief Constable Peter Maddison said the force is not in financial difficulties in the current year, but has identified there will be a gap in finances in 2007/2008 and succeeding years.

'Council tax rise'

By acting now, with the support of the police authority, the force intends to manage the pressures and stay within budget, he said.

The Northamptonshire police spokesman added: "A review of police officer establishment is being carried out with the possibility of reducing the number of officers employed by the force by up to 42 posts.

"This would take the establishment to 1,289 police officers - a figure below which, under current Home Office rules, we are not allowed to move."

Dr Marie Dickie, chair of the Northamptonshire Police Authority, said: "The local issues are compounded by the national policing priority of improving protective services and rolling out a Neighbourhood Policing programme.

"Without additional central government funding, or a lifting of the cap on our Council Tax precept, it will simply not be possible to deliver in these two areas without compromising in another.

"Unless we are properly funded by central government we will have to look at raising the council tax precept, and it is our intention to ask the community whether they would be prepared to pay more council tax to ensure effective policing."

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "Law and order is a top priority for the government.

"The funding settlements for 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 provide significant extra resources for policing.

"It represents a cash boost of 982m for police authorities to fight crime over the next two years."

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