DURHAM Constabulary has issued 90-day redundancy notices to civilian staff including community support officers today.

Durham Police has written to 1,160 staff, with the union believing more than 100 jobs will be lost after consultation is completed.

It will have a "major impact" on frontline officers work, the union said.

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Unison branch secretary Arthur Dickinson said: "This is a devastating blow to our members. We have never had any compulsory redundancies in the force and we have been working very hard to make savings to avoid any in the future.

"There is a lot of fear and uncertainty over numbers, but the 90-day consultation suggests that the force are looking to axe more than 100 jobs.

"Police staff work as part of a team doing vital jobs such as fingerprinting, scenes of crime, emergency control room operators, PCSOs, detention officers.

Any redundancies will have a major impact on the quality of policing in Durham.

"These job losses are a direct result of Government cuts and will undermine frontline policing.

"We are holding meetings with members to discuss the notices and with management next week."

The force sought to clarify its position through a press release issued this morning.

It said: "Durham Constabulary, along with all other public sector bodies, is considering its budget for 2010/11 in line with the government’s comprehensive spending review which will be announced in the autumn.

"We expect that some jobs will go; how many depends on the outcome of the comprehensive spending review which reports in October.

"In preparation for this, all 1,160 members of police staff employed by Durham Police Authority are being issued with notices advising that their posts are being considered for potential redundancy and that the statutory 90 day consultation period has started.

"This does not mean that all 1,160 police staff posts will go. "It means that when we are in a position to consider where cuts will be made, the formal process will already have been underway for some time."

Assistant Chief Officer, Gary Ridley, said: “Despite undertaking a range of actions to save money, such as freezing recruitment, offering early retirement, voluntary redundancy and centralising functions within its HQ site at Aykley Heads, it is clear that compulsory redundancies need to be considered in light of likely future reductions in the amount of government grant the constabulary receives.

“We are working closely with the Police Authority and Trade Unions to try and minimise the impact on our staff whilst maintaining a service to the people of County Durham and Darlington.

"Durham is a high performing force and we are determined for it to remain so.”

Have you received a 90-day notice? Call the newsdesk on 01325-505065 or email helen.smithson@nne.co.uk or newsdesk@nne.co.uk