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Proposals for cuts aim to maintain highest possible police numbers

Issued: 23 Nov 2010

NORTHERN Constabulary will seek the agreement of the Board, which meets on Friday 26 November, to implement the recommendations of the Best Value Review, which includes the closure of 16 police stations, reduced reception hours at some stations and a new call management structure.

Work is still continuing in order to assess the full implications of the Scottish Budget, announced on 17 November, for this Force, however a cut equivalent to around 6%, including inflation, is anticipated. In order to achieve the anticipated savings required to meet the 2011-12 budget, the Chief Constable's professional advice is to endorse the implementation of the outcomes from the Best Value Review.

Chief Constable Ian Latimer said: "Whilst these are difficult decisions, they are regarded as necessary if we are to maintain the visible policing presence within our communities. There has been a significant amount of planning and preparation which puts us in a better position to address these challenges. We are already highly efficient and have maximised resources into frontline policing over the past 2 years.

"The proposals which have been put to the Police Board aim to achieve savings and efficiencies, whilst allowing the Force to maintain police officer numbers at the highest possible level and continue to provide visible, localised policing services across the Highlands and Islands area within communities."

In addition to these measures the Force will seek the Board’s approval to implement the Voluntary Redundancy Scheme. To date, around 30 individuals have expressed an interest in Voluntary Redundancy and a recommendation will be made to the Board to allow this to progress. Voluntary Redundancy, combined with vacancy management and a small number of opportunities for redeployment, will significantly reduce the need for Compulsory Redundancy. However, the geography of the Force will limit such opportunities and whilst we will seek to minimise Compulsory Redundancy to the lowest possible level, there may unavoidably be a very small number.

As the full picture of the cuts remains unclear, the Force will also request delegated authority from the Board to consider the option of implementing compulsory retirement of police officers under Regulation A19, if required. If agreement is reached on the other elements of the Best Value Review, it may well be that we will be able to avoid compulsory retirements of police officers to balance the budget for the start of the financial year 2011/12.

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme