Thousands of police workers in South Yorkshire have been offered voluntary redundancy as bosses battle to save £29 million.
About 2,000 members of staff have been asked to consider taking redundancy, with police chiefs hoping it will avoid them having to wield the axe and make compulsory redundancies.
Trade union Unison claims that around 300 jobs need to go, with applications needing to be received by Friday.
Representative Ian Armitage said: “Out of 2,000 members of staff, that its a big chunk.
“We were already cut to the bone but now we are cutting into the bone. Staff are worried.
“We are opposed to any redundancies.”
Frontline officers are protected from redundancy by law, but the Police Federation, which represents ranks and file officers, claims 600 posts have been lost over the last eight years through retirement and illness.
Neil Bowles, chairman of the federation’s South Yorkshire branch, said: “The work of the force is not reducing, even though staff numbers are.
“Somebody is going to have to pick up the slack.”
Chief Constable David Crompton said: “Over the next two financial years, the force needs to make savings in the region of £29m. The majority of these savings will need to come through workforce reductions.
“We feel, in these difficult circumstances, offering voluntary redundancy is the most constructive way forward.
“Applications are now open to police staff from across the force and will hopefully mitigate against the need for compulsory redundancies.”
The Reverend Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “By offering voluntary redundancy, some people may be encouraged to make career changes and decisions to suit their circumstances, while enabling the force to make savings.”