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Chief constable axes Wiltshire divisions to save officers

(November 02, 2010)
VISION for Warminster can reveal how Wiltshire Constabulary - and probably most other English police forces - is going to cope with the huge budget cuts announced last month.
All told the Wiltshire force is expected to lose more than 17 million pounds over the coming four years, but as the money dries up the strategy keeps as many officers on the front line as possible.
The first part of the cost cutting will involve reducing the whole force area into just one division or operational command unit (OCU).
A decade ago Wiltshire had the luxury of three divisions - A (Salisbury) B (Swindon) and C (Chippenham) each with its own chief super and countless administrative and support hangers on - all on high superannuated wages.
This has subsequently been reduced to two Basic Command Units (BCUs) but from April there will just be one.
However the force will be keeping its network of 11 'sector' inspectors (ours is Insp Dave Minty) and the neighbourhood policing teams. So we will be in the large Warminster and Westbury sector.
Other specialist police activities are to be pooled with other forces in the region, particularly neighbouring Avon and Somerset.
Expensive and time consuming areas such as anti-terrorism, serious crime, drugs, child-protection, dogs units and even the purchase of vehicles and uniforms will increasingly be done on a regional level.
''I'm pleased that the police appear to have identified a way of maintaining the numbers at the sharp end but hope this isn't the thin end of the wedge in the lead-up to a regional or national police force,'' said VFW's Steve Dancey.
''Along with other public services police face some petty tough choices but chief constable Brian Moore seems to be on the case.''

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