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Sussex Police reveal restructure plans
Sussex Police chiefs say they can cut costs and save time with a radical restructure.
Officers in the West Downs and North Downs divisions are finding out this week how a merger of the two policing areas will work, while a scheme to reorganise response to low-level crimes is expected save £2.5 million.
The moves are being introduced in a bid to save £52 million following Government funding cuts.
Senior officers believe they can save £800,000 by merging the management structures of West Downs, which covers Adur, Worthing, Arun and Chichester, with North Downs, which covers Mid Sussex, Horsham and Crawley.
Police in the two areas currently report to separate chief superintendents, superintendents and detective chief inspectors.
The merger is part of a cost-cutting package which has already seen more than 300 police staff accept “voluntary severance” packages to leave their jobs.
In total, 500 officer posts are expected to go along with 550 staff.
Officers are also being consulted over the introduction of separate units to handle the response to and investigation of crimes.
The change – which Sussex Police says could save £2.5 million – has been piloted in Brighton and Hove since September.
The force said yesterday that the separation of duties has cut the average time it takes to investigate a crime from 44 days to 16.
Previously the officer who responded to a callout would deal with the investigation into the crime as well as responding to fresh incidents.
Under the new system a dedicated team investigates reports of crimes like burglary, theft and criminal damage.
All officers in the force are also being trained in “community resolution” – which means getting the victim’s consent for an offender to apologise or make amends without being charged.
Chief Superintendent Martin Walker, the new divisional commander for West Sussex, said: "This new model would mean less bureaucracy for everyone, less paperwork for frontline officers and more opportunities for them to use their own discretion to do the right thing - for instance using Community Resolutions where appropriate.”
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