A POLICE force has reorganised its command structure as the impact of financial cuts continues to affect staffing levels.
The changes will see serious crime teams coming under a more centralised base but the level of neighbourhood policing teams will not be altered, according the Temporary Chief Constable of Cleveland Police.
Jacqui Cheer said the cuts were focusing on senior posts in an attempt to protect frontline officers as the force faces losing 300 police officers by 2014.
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The number of Chief Superintendents and Superintendents will be reduced from 14-12; Chief Inspector 20-17; Inspectors from 86-75; Sergeants from 257-226 and PC’s reduced from 1,345 – 1,121 but 100 of those are being moved to outsourced contracts.
However, the biggest change will see specialist officers being freed from working in the confines of one of the four force areas – Middlesbrough, Stockton, Hartlepool and Redcar and Cleveland – and working across borders.
She said: “This must have been one of the most demanding and challenging years the force has faced. We wouldn’t have chosen to use A19 (forced retirement of officers with 30 years’ service) because we have been losing some good officers who have served Cleveland well.”
She added: “This is largely about a re-organisation internally so that members of the public do not see any change to the service we deliver.
“Neighbourhood Policing will continue to be at the heart of everything we do, and will be delivered by Police Constables and Police Community Support Officers working in teams, dedicated to a geographic area with neighbourhood crime detectives.”
Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said: “The restructure of the force is an operational decision which I know the TCC and her team have been working on for many months.
“Everyone is well aware that the force faces substantial cuts to funding and police numbers and so changes have to be made. However, I have made it clear that, despite these pressures, Neighbourhood Policing must remain the priority and no local community should lose its Neighbourhood Team.”
The announcement came on the same day the force revealed its plans to publicise the outcome of disciplinary hearings where an officer is dismissed.
Mrs Cheer said: “There are a number of outcomes for officers who are found to have committed misconduct, which can range from management advice to a written warning, and in the most serious cases, dismissal from the service without notice.
“It is the most serious cases in which we will publish the outcomes, as it is right that we are open and transparent with the public about the outcome of these processes.”