A decision by Sussex Police to not apply for a business branding could damage its recruitment prospects, according to the force’s watchdog.

Police bosses, who currently face a £35 million funding shortage, have not renewed its accreditation to the Investors in People (IIP) scheme.

They claim that by ditching the IIP logo - a respected hallmark of how well a company treats its staff - they will immediately save more than £20,000.

But members of the force’s watchdog believe the move will deter potential employees from applying for vacancies.

Ben Duncan, a member of the Sussex Police Authority, said: “It seems like a move in the wrong direction.

“I appreciate that massive savings must be made but it is still true that the force is not meeting recruitment targets for ethnic minorities and women.

“The IIP mark helps with this and shows that we meet certain standards.”

According to its website, the Investors In People mark is a national standard leading to business improvement and better public services.

The mark, which consists of a laurel, is currently printed on the force’s paper and stationery.

All of this will have to be replaced when IIP accreditation lapses next year.

Representatives from Sussex Police said the decision would not impact on their quality assurance.

Sue Peckham, head of the force’s policy and performance, said: “Sussex Police takes pride in the standard of training it provides its officers and staff to enable them to effectively fulfil their role.

“While we have been accredited with Investors in People (IIP) mark for many years, we have decided not to seek renewal of our IIP when our current accreditation expires.

“The force is currently accredited with a number of other provisions including the single quality assurance scheme from the National Policing Improvement Agency.”

A spokesman for the Sussex Police added the force’s print and stationary logo would be replaced when current stocks are exhausted.