Police cuts spell the end for 40 officers

THE district’s police force is to lose officers and nearly 200 support workers as it tightens its belt in response to Government cuts.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary has announced it will cut 40 police officer posts and make redundant 193 civilian workers, including 44 PCSO support staff, as a result of its budget settlement for 2011/12.

The cutbacks include six PCSO support staff based in North Somerset – three in Weston and one each in Clevedon, Nailsea and Portishead.

The planned job losses come after the police authority approved a budget of �282.6million for the financial year, compared to �280.2million in 2009/10.

It means the force will have to make a total of �15million of savings over the coming year.

Chief Constable Colin Port said: “This is a dark day for us.

“The decisions that have been taken are not just about money, they are about people’s lives and I deeply regret the impact they will have and the good people we will lose as a result.

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“We will be even leaner and even more efficient in years to come as our services continue to be transformed and improved.

“But our duty, first and foremost, to protect the public and the communities of Avon and Somerset, will continue undiminished.”

The force has said it will also let 40 officers retire or leave from April without replacing them to help plug the funding gap.

The authority currently has about 3,200 police officers and 2,500 civilian staff.

Despite the drop in funding, the public will be spared an increase in council tax precept to pay for the force.

Instead, a freeze in precept will mean the authority can qualify for a 2.5 per cent increase on its Government pay-out.