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Police shake-up to boost services

9 June 07 12:14 GMT

Plans to reshape policing across County Durham and Darlington have been drawn up by the force.

There had been fears hundreds of jobs would be axed amid budget cuts, but this was lifted after an agreement to raise council tax.

The modernisation programme promises no cuts in the number of officers on the street for the foreseeable future.

And a £1.4m investment will help meet national demands to tackle the threat of extremism and organised crime.

Additional cash to pay for an increase in surveillance and intelligence gathering, as well as improved information management, will come from savings made by axing some desk jobs.

'High expectations'

There will also be more uniformed patrols, with a further 100 police community support officers (PCSOs) recruited by the summer.

Chief Constable Jon Stoddart said: "The brave decision by the police authority to raise the council tax has broken us out of the financial strait-jacket we found ourselves trapped in.

"Many challenges still face us but we have been handed a clear opportunity to improve and streamline our service.

"Members of the public quite rightly have high expectations when they seek our help and we are striving to better meet that need and, at the same time, build on the neighbourhood policing that is the cornerstone of our work."

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