City Council and Notts Police clash over senior officer cuts

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Central Police Station is already due to close and move to Byron House

Political leaders fear crime will rise in Nottingham if planned changes to the city policing structure go ahead.

Notts Police are planning to scrap the system which divides the force into a city division and county division.

The changes would also mean there is no dedicated chief superintendent based in the city, leaving a superintendent as the most senior officer.

Chief Constable Chris Eyre says the changes are needed to save money while still protecting front line services.

But the city council fears big falls in crime over the last decade could be reversed.

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Cllr Jon Collins

Council leader Jon Collins said: “Nearly all the other major cities in the UK have their own police division able to focus on tackling city crime issues.

“Under the current policing model, the number crimes recorded for Nottingham has almost halved, from 59,786 in 2007 to 31,551 in 2015.

“The changes proposed will only provide limited cash savings for the force. It’s a clear case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.

“This move puts at risk all the progress that has been made through effective joint working and resourcing between the Police and the Council over the last ten years. And for such fundamental changes, there has been virtually no consultation.”

The council’s senior leadership team, including Cllr Collins, met on Tuesday to discuss opposition to the plan, and have already set up an email address for people to email their concerns to.

Criminals don’t respect arbitrary lines on a map

Notts Police Chief Constable Chris Eyre said: “I have to save another £12 million on top of the deep cuts I have had to manage over the last five years. I plan to continue to remove management ranks rather than cut front line services.

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Chief Constable Chris Eyre

“My commitment is to the safety of our communities. In the last eighteen months the crime reduction in Nottingham compared with other core cities has been phenomenal.

“This has been because I restructured the force in 2014 to respond to public calls and to investigate crime across the conurbation rather than having separate teams for the city and district council areas.

“Unsurprisingly crime doesn’t stop at city council boundaries nor do criminals respect arbitrary lines on a map. Victims don’t sit comfortably within divisions and simply care about the quality of service they receive when they need us.”

PCSO petition

Picture: The force has cut around 25 per cent of PCSO roles despite protests

The force is already working on a ‘strategic alliance’ programme with Leicestershire and Northamptonshire police forces.

Senior offices say it will save £70 to £90 million a year across the three forces by 2020.

As part of the ongoing savings drive, the force is already closing the city’s central police station on Shakespeare Street and moving into new premises at Byron House, Maid Marian Way. It also recently cut around a quarter of PCSOs.

Notts Police and Crime Commisisoner Paddy Tipping said: “The situation is straightforward. There will be further discussions with the City Council about the proposals.

“The Chief Constable and myself have given assurances that there will be no changes to the policing structure in Nottingham before the summer.”

He added a report on the changes is being prepared for the next meeting of Nottingham Crime and Drugs Partnership on June 23.

 

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