Fresh plan for police aims to cut costs

By Connie Osborne Thursday 03 October 2013 Updated: 04/10 10:50

POLICING in Redditch will be overhauled in a bid to save more than £30 million.

As part of its ongoing alliance with Warwickshire Police, West Mercia is set to work more closely with the neighbouring force to achieve the savings required by Government before 2015.

The two have been working together since 2011, although chiefs have denied they are set to merge the forces completely, despite Ken MacKaill, West Mercia Police Federation chairman, publicly saying this week a merger was ‘inevitable’.

A total of 661 jobs will be lost from across the area during the changes, including 227 police officers, and seven new policing areas will be introduced in Redditch compared to the current ten.

Under the new way of working, the regions will be served by 82 safer neighbourhood teams (SNTs) in West Mercia and 33 in Warwickshire, which will include police officers, police community support officers and special constables.

Each will be managed by a sergeant and include one constable and two PCSOs, while those in areas of high demand will have two police officers and two extra PCSOs, with some being based in schools such as RSA Academy Arrow Vale and Kingsley College.

The new areas in Redditch will be known as Abbey, Headless Cross and Oakenshaw, Greenlands and Lodge Park, Winyates and Matchborough, Church Hill, Batchley and Central and Redditch South West and Rural.

Alvechurch and Wythall will form their own SNT while Studley will be covered by the Alcester North team and Alcester will be served by Alcester South.

Response officers will also operate from 14 patrol bases across Warwickshire and West Mercia, including Redditch Police Station.

Redditch district inspector Ian Joseph said although some of the police areas within the town were geographically larger, the force had managed to retain the same number of police officers dedicated to local policing and had increased the number of PCSOs.

“Our safer neighbourhood teams know their areas extremely well and residents will continue to see familiar faces carrying out high visibility reassurance patrols as well as tackling some of the long-term issues that can blight communities.

“Improvements in information technology including the introduction of laptop computers and specialist mobile phones have improved our patrol capability and means we can stay out longer, do more and be even more visible.”

He added dedicated Twitter pages would also be updated by patrolling officers which would show their activity as well as advertising community engagement meetings.

Visit www.westmercia.police.uk/saferneighbourhoods/ for more information or search Redditch SNTs on Twitter.

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