South Yorkshire Police Force strapped for cash

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Policing in the Dearne is set to be hit as police chiefs in South Yorkshire aim to merge most departments with neighbouring forces in a bid to save cash.

The only thing it appears that will escape the axe are neighbourhood teams.

The warning was issued by Chief Constable David Crompton, who said nothing was safe as police forces battle to save money. He said with government budget cuts leaving him having to find savings of £49 million by the end of 2016, plans are being made for mergers with neighbouring forces – back office functions and frontline services.

Mr Crompton said: “We are reaching the stage where with almost anything we can do jointly with other police forces, we plan to do that.

“We already have joint human resources, IT and procurement. Anything else we can do jointly to save money will have a strong case – finance, vetting, communications, call handling and health and safety, plus specialisms such as firearms and dogs and those which investigate organised crime and murder investigations; almost everything over and above local policing.

“Anything above and beyond police officers and community support officers patrolling the streets is up for grabs.”

Mr Crompton added: “If we can do it more efficiently with another force or local authority then we will look at it. Some issues we deal with are the same as councils deal with too – domestic abuse, anti-social behaviour etc.

“We both invest time and money dealing with the same issues and people, so those are examples of how we could work together more efficiently.”

He is keen for his force to preserve local officers with local knowledge, but admitted if mergers go ahead officers from other forces would be used in South Yorkshire. The number of officers employed by South Yorkshire Police has dropped from 3,300 in 2007 to 2,600 today.

He said more roles need to be axed and added: “There would still be a local element to policing, we’d just be supplemented by other forces as and when needed, such as for murder investigations. Local knowledge is important, you can’t manage without it, but everyone’s trained to the same standard.”