Sussex Police has today unveiled significant changes it will need to make in order to save £56 million. Measures include cutting 1,000 staff including 500 police officers by 2020.
The world we live in is changing and will continue to do so, including the crimes people commit. Our new model, which will be implemented in stages over the next four years, shapes our service so we are best equipped to meet emerging threats, within our financial constraints.
As part of the Serving Sussex 2015 programme over the last five years we have already made cost savings of more than £50 million, while still protecting our front line and delivering a quality service. Now we must trim further and to do so we have to look at our most significant area of cost – our people.
We will be a smaller organisation with 700 fewer officers and staff (500 police officers and 200 staff) delivering local policing over the next five years. A further 300 posts elsewhere in the force will go as we seek to save a further £56 million by 2020. As an organisation we spend 80% of our budget on pay and with budget reductions we must refocus roles if we are to retain our ability to keep people safe.
Sussex has run on a tight budget for many years with residents paying one of the lowest precepts in the country. This means we already run a tight ship, an achievement that has been nationally recognised. We are collaborating with partners, including Surrey Police, to gain maximum benefits in terms of financial saving and maintaining good quality policing. Even with the efficiencies already made, overall crime has reduced over the last three years.
Although we will be smaller, I am confident that we will provide an effective service by adopting new ways of working, reducing wasted effort and improving productivity that will help us meet competing demands while continuing to protect our community.
Policing Team in Crowborough
It is too early to know what if any cuts will be made in Crowborough, other than to say the force currently employs 4,865 police officers and staff – 2,477 of whom are involved in local policing, so the job cuts are around 1/5th total workforce.
Last year Crowborough PC Richard Waters was moved to the Uckfield team. Crowborough Town Council currently pay for the cost of one PCSO from their Council Tax, as opposed to the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner. This money currently pays for the salary of PCSO Chris Harrison who covers the whole town. There are three other PSCOs in Crowborough: Tamara Bennett (St Johns & North Ward), Marion Keaton (East Ward & Jarvis Brook) and Hannah Williams (West). They are supervised by Sergeant Mike Keeler. The District Commander for Wealden is Chief Inspector Gary Pike. Email addresses and mobile telephone numbers can be found on the Sussex Police website: www.sussex.police.uk. Regular street meetings are held and there is a monthly surgery at the Town Hall on the last Thursday in the month from 10-11am.
New policing model for Sussex
About the changes, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne said:
The chief constable has had my complete support in designing a new local policing model for Sussex that’s fit for the 21st century. I have been very impressed by the business-like approach Sussex Police has taken to this design process, which has involved several hundred officers and thousands of hours’ work. I have provided constructive challenge throughout this process, representing the public’s interests and their likely concerns.
There will be changes that I know some residents may not feel comfortable with straight away. That is why I will be watching closely – and continuing to engage directly with members of the public – to ensure these changes are clearly communicated and understood.
This is a long-term, five-year plan. The new Sussex Local Policing Model – and the changes within it – will not be rolled out overnight. I will be asking partners and the public to feedback their comments and concerns to me at every stage. My ongoing challenge to the chief constable will be that the new model must maintain public confidence and reassurance whilst delivering an effective and efficient police service.
Everyone has a part to play in reducing and preventing crime. I will continue to work closely with the police, partners and the public to ensure we all take responsibility for keeping Sussex safe.
Over the next four years to ensure local police services are directed to where they are most needed Sussex Police have unveiled the following key changes:
- Public safety is a priority. Response teams will have the same strength and they won’t be constrained by the organisational boundaries of East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton & Hove – the most appropriate officer will respond to those most in need.
- A resolution centre, staffed by officers, will provide professional advice online or by phone to resolve issues at the initial point of contact. Where a problem would be more effectively dealt with by a partner, people will be directed to them.
- More online services will be available to meet people’s changing needs – to report crime and find out information.
- Officers will be equipped with mobile devices to easily access information and complete administrative tasks whilst out in the community, reducing the need for them to spend time at police stations.
- Officers will carry out intelligence-led work, focusing on crime hotspots and the most vulnerable.
- PCSO roles will change. They will be equipped with a wider range of skills and become more flexible so that they can focus on those most in need, actively contributing to reducing crime, alongside partners.
- Officers will be trained to deal with a range of problem-solving issues, reducing the need for specialist officers.
- With a flexible model, officers and staff will be available where they are needed at a given time and not be constrained by organisational boundaries.
- There will be a named person for each ward in the county who can be contacted if needed.
- Victims and witnesses will have an officer dedicated to them throughout their case, reducing the need for handovers.
- Officers will provide joint services with partners, including Surrey Police.
- Officers and staff will work closely with partners, including co-locating whenever there are benefits to the community, thereby reducing costs.
- Policing districts will be combined for effective command, consistency and partnership working.
- Officers and staff will be trusted to use their discretion to do the right thing for the public we serve without multiple layers of supervision in place.
Have Your Say
You can add your comments below or join the conversation on Facebook. If the proposed Enterprise Centre and Community Hub goes ahead at Pine Grove should the police move in and sell-off Crowborough Police Station to save money? What do you think?