West Midlands Police has admitted it will be axing 2,500 jobs over the next five years in a bid make savings of £130 million across the force.
Officers, Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and civilian staff are set to lose their jobs according to the Birmingham Mail, as part of the new measures that will see the West Midlands Police force reduced to a smaller size than when it was formed in 1974.
The plans have been announced as part of the WMP 2020 change programme, which the force said considers how neighbourhood policing will look in five years’ time “against a continued backdrop of financial austerity”.
West Midlands Police said that with over 80 per cent of operating costs currently coming from pay budgets, it will be forced to make further workforce reductions despite the number of employees having nearly halved over the last 10 years.
Chief Constable Chris Sims said: “By 2020 WMP will have reduced by almost 45 per cent over a decade.
“I am confident though that policing will continue to protect the public but how services may look and be delivered will have to alter – both to respond to the financial challenges we are facing and to new and growing threats like child sexual exploitation and online crime,” he added.
Chief Constable Sims insisted that “we are not pulling away from engaging with the public or from having a uniformed presence on the street,” but said there will need to be a “significant reduction” in the number of PCSOs before 2020.
“Neighbourhood policing is key to our relationship with communities. However, in the face of growing pressure on our services, the force will have to look and feel different to respond to crime in the future,” he said.