PCC says Government cuts may mean Northants Police cannot sustain 1,220 officers in future years

The outgoing Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner says his successor may not be able to maintain the current level of 1,220 police officers due to expected Government cuts.

Adam Simmonds, who is standing down in May 2016, said he believed the Government spending review could result in Northamptonshire Police having to make 20 per cent cuts.

Mr Simmonds said the county force’s budget was balanced up until 2018 but, if further cuts were required, this could lead to a reduction in the 1,220 baseline of police officers currently maintained in the county.

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He said: “The Northants Police budget is balanced until 2018 but if we have to make further cuts of 20 per cent my successor, or the one after that, may have to look again at the number of police officers and see if we can afford it.”

It was announced this week, that G4S had been asked to do a ‘feasibility study’ into how they would run the force control room.

Mr Simmonds said it was not a ‘done deal’ that the private contractor would take over the control room but was a research exercise to better inform the police about how the control room could be run.

The commissioner said the control room suffered from high staff turnover due to the high pressure nature of the job.

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Mr Simmonds said the force also suffered from a high number of ‘call dropouts’ on the 101 number due to people hanging up after being kept waiting too long, which was something he wanted to improve.

He said: “We need to make sure that people can always get through to the police when they want to.”

Mr Simmonds said he chose not to join seven other PCC’s who signed a letter to policing minister Mike Penning urging him to delay a decision on force budgets expected in the Government’s spending review because he thought it was “counter-productive”.

He said: “All forces will lose money as a result of the spending review.

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“All the forces that signed the letter are ones who currently benefit from the funding formula but the amount of money we will all have to save in the future makes this irrelevant.”

Mr Simmonds said he believed Northamptonshire Police would gain an extra £4 million in the new funding formula but this would be wiped out by the pressure to make savings in the next five years.