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Last Updated: Friday, 23 November 2007, 11:52 GMT
Retaining police 'not effective'
Police officers
Mr Latimer said it would be more cost effective to recruit new staff
A chief constable has said he favours the recruitment of new young officers rather than trying to retain those eligible to retire.

Ian Latimer told Northern joint police board it was more cost effective in terms of officers' wages and allowances.

The Scottish Government said keeping more experienced staff and recruiting were a complementary.

Northern Constabulary is also to be given funding for eight new officers.

This will come out of the 54m the Scottish Government has made available to recruit 500 officers.

For every five new officers I can recruit, the police board can afford three that have completed 30 years' service.
Chief Constable Ian Latimer
Northern Constabulary

Northern joint police board, meeting in Inverness, heard the eight officers would be in addition to 20 new constables Northern Constabulary has already begun recruiting for.

Several members of the board described being given funding for eight as disappointing.

Mr Latimer said the new officers should be on community beats by next summer, but because training takes two years they will not be "competent" by 2010.

Meanwhile, he said problems retaining older officers was not an issue in the Highlands and Islands.

However, the chief constable revealed a preference towards recruiting new officers than actively trying to encourage those due to retire.

Boost policing

He said: "For every five new officers I can recruit, the police board can afford three that have completed 30 years' service."

Mr Latimer added that the force did not "push people out the door".

The Scottish Government said the need to recruit and retain officers was not an either or, but part of a package to boost policing.

Too many effective, experienced officers leave the service when they still have much to offer
Scottish Government spokesman

A spokesman said: "It's not about winners and losers. These elements are complementary."

He added: "Almost 2,300 officers will be eligible to retire over the lifetime of parliament.

"This represents a huge pool of knowledge, experience and expertise that cannot be immediately replicated in even the best training college. Too many effective, experienced officers leave the service when they still have much to offer."

Following Thursday's board meeting, Northern Constabulary unveiled new technology which sends images - such as pictures of missing children or a wanted criminal - to a screen on their Airwave radio handsets.

The force is the first in the UK to do this.

It uses existing systems and equipment, but for the first time officers on the street can receive photographs, or images of maps or the voters' roll to verify addresses.

SEE ALSO
Funds to recruit 500 new officers
12 Nov 07 |  Scotland

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