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Top cop prepares for 1,500 job loses

PUBLISHED: 16:44 08 September 2010 | UPDATED: 17:07 08 September 2010

Chief Constable Ian Learmonth

Chief Constable Ian Learmonth

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Top cop raises budget cut fears

The COUNTY faces a rise in crime if huge cuts to police resources are announced, Kent’s most senior officer has predicted.

Newly-appointed Chief Constable Ian Learmonth is bracing himself for a 20 per cent cut in his annual budget which could see 1,500 job loses and plunge Kent Police back to policing numbers of 2001.

He was speaking ahead of the October Spending Review when the Home Office will announce the full extent of cuts to public services across the country.

Chief Constable Learmonth said: “It is not a coincidence that as a result of higher officer numbers in the past few years crime has come down so it is not a big step to say a reduction in numbers will see it go up.

“We are not here to reel off the line many other bodies have about how it can be achieved through efficiency savings, we will have to reduce numbers with the obvious impact.”

Expected cuts of £53million over the next four years could lead to a loss of 1,000 civilian posts, more than a third of those currently employed and 500 officers, around 15 per cent.

A complete review of the structure of the force is now underway and priorities will be set to make sure no police time or resources are wasted.

He cited asking local authorities to handle noise disturbance calls and handing over responsibility on anti-social parking complaints as options being explored.

But he hopes to safeguard the newly launched services such as the specialised marine unit launched at Gravesend in May and The Serious Crime Directorate based at Ebbsfleet.

He added: “It will not be a case of last in first out, we may find through our research these units offer the best use of our resources.”

Further cooperation with neighbouring services such as Essex and the Metropolitan Police would be explored but no merger with Essex would take place.

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