Page last updated at 15:25 GMT, Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Force pledge on officer numbers

The number of police officers on Teesside will not be cut in the coming year, officials have promised.

The chairman of Cleveland Police Authority and the force's chief constable pledged to retain the existing number of front-line officers.

Cleveland's forthcoming budget is due to be discussed on Thursday.

But authority chairman Dave McLuckie and chief constable Sean Price said it was important to maintain officer numbers to keep crime levels low.

Mr McLuckie said he wanted to make it "crystal clear" to businesses and residents that there were no plans to reduce police officer numbers over the coming year.

He said the force would keep its 1,727 police officers and 197 community support officers.

'Maximum return'

He said major improvements, including the launch of the force's new air support service, would also go ahead as planned.

He added: "I want to be crystal clear that there are no plans whatsoever to cut officer or PCSO numbers in Cleveland.

"They are at the highest level in the force's history and we intend to keep them there.

"We are hopefully on target to deliver a 20% reduction in crime by the end of this financial year and we are determined to maintain the drive forward in the year ahead."

Mr Price added: "We are very aware of the current financial strain many local people feel under, which is why we are determined to get the maximum return for every pound of public money.

"In survey after survey the public have told us they want a visible, accessible police force and that is what we will continue to deliver."

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