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Police review leads to 'beat bobbies' fears
8:00am Wednesday 26th September 2012 in News
FEARS have been raised about the future of community policing in south Worcestershire.
A review by West Mercia Police has led to concerns that neighbourhood police stations could close and the number of ‘beat bobbies’ be drastically reduced.
West Mercia say local policing teams will remain although no decision has been taken about the number of officers or where they will be based.
The review has been ordered following the force’s alliance with Warwickshire Police.
The concerns came up as the force’s chief constable David Shaw admitted morale among officers has ‘dipped’ as a result of controversial attempts to cut £20 million from spending.
He was speaking after it was revealed that lower ranking officers in West Mercia are pushing for the right to take strike action in response to changes to their pay and conditions.
Mr Shaw confessed that parts of the county are already “stretched” when it comes to officers on the beat.
But he defended the recent alliance with Warwickshire saying it had saved 300 frontline policing jobs.
As a direct result of the alliance with neighbouring Warwickshire Police, West Mercia are currently reviewing how our communities are policed. Local policing teams will remain – albeit renamed Safer Neighbourhood Teams.
However, a spokesman said no decision had been made on how many officers or staff would be deployed to these teams.
She said high priority areas would still be resourced correctly “within the overall level of resources available to police”.
“Work to determine the exact modelling of patrol bases and other buildings across the Alliance is ongoing,”
she said. “The Alliance will deploy 24/7 patrol officers and staff from strategically placed locations in order to provide the most efficient and effective service possible.”
“Community policing will always remain the foundation upon which all policing services are delivered in Warwickshire and West Mercia.”