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Chief's pledge on police numbers
4:00pm Sunday 29th September 2013 in News
THE new police commander for Somerset says she does not expect to lose a ‘huge amount’ of frontline officers when money-saving cuts are made across the force.
Ch Supt Nikki Watson pledged to try andkeep asmany PCs and PCSOs as possible on the county’s streets as she settles into her role.
Bosses plan to make savings of £15million over the next two years.
Ch Supt Watson said: “The force is undergoing abigpiece of work at the moment. “We’re looking atmaking sure we’re delivering fantastic services but also we have to make some savings, so they are reviewing the resource levels.
“They are not going to be taking a huge amount of resources out of Somerset but I don’t anticipate getting a huge amount of resources into Somerset either.
“At the moment we’re still under cuts but we’re trying tominimise the number to PC and PCSO posts.”
Avon and Somerset Police merged its three Somerset districts – North, East and West – in June, with Ch Supt Watson taking overall charge.
Her patch covers Chard and Ilminster and includes more rural areas. Ch Supt Watson, who is also the rural crime lead for the force, says she will target rural offenders and not allow her officers to be sent to larger cities.
“Somerset is my area and there is no way that I’d allow all the resources to go up to Bristol,” she said.
“In Somerset there is a whole variety of crime. In some of our bigger town centres such as Taunton there will be burglaries and vehicle crime and the sorts of crimes you would get in an urban area.
“But there are huge tracts of rural Somerset which can get overlooked and lots of members of the public that don’t live in those areas don’t understand crime and anti-social behaviour that takes place.”
As reported in the News, Avon and Somerset Police is preparing to make cutbacks following the Government spending review earlier this year.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said finding these savings will mean ‘fundamental’ changes to policing.
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