Over 400 more officers to leave West Midlands Police

By Chris Smith 19/06 Updated: 21/06 10:05

A FURTHER 400 experienced police officers will be pensioned off over the next three years, it has been revealed.

West Midlands Police plans to keep the controversial Regulation A19 proposal - which allows them to force those with 30 years' service to retire - in place for at least the next year.

It will see 436 long-serving officers leave; 163 over the next year, 162 the year after and 111 in 2014/15.

Since A19 was brought in in March 2011 amid massive cost cutting 363 experienced officers have already left.

By next year it will have saved the force £28million, but will eventually lead to a rise in crime, according to the chairman of West Midlands Police Federation, the officers' union.

Ian Edwards said the number of uniformed staff was now around 7,500, plunging morale levels among officers to their lowest in 30 years.

"We would very much like to keep these officers and recruit new ones but the truth of it is that the budget is just not there," Mr Edwards told The Observer.

"Further reduction in numbers is not the best way forward and crime will rise in the West Midlands because we cannot continue certain levels of services with these officer numbers.

"At the moment we are moving people around and working with what we have got, but there will be a tipping point which prevents us from policing safely.

"The cuts are not being done on a scientific basis, they are being done fiscally and have to stop."

Mr Edwards said relationships with chief constable Chris Simms remained good and said most officers even sympathised with the actions he was being forced into.

But he feared more officers would leave of their own according as a result of plunging morale with many also believed to be awaiting the outcome of planned changes to pensions and the privatisation of some services.

In a report to West Midlands Police Authority's meeting today, Mr Simms said forcing officers to retire was the only way of guaranteeing the savings required.

A further £48million needs to be saved over the next two years. So far £78million of spending has been cut, £34million of which has been by getting rid of uniformed and civilian staff.

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