Police commissioner Sue Mountstevens visits Wellington this week answering questions about the merger of the Avon & Somerset force with the Wiltshire Constabulary. Her visit was fixed prior to the announcement but is sure to invite comment, along with the decision to base the town’s new sergeant, Nigel Downey, in Williton.
“Over the past four years each of the forces has had to find substantial savings and, although this has not been easy, these have been achieved.,” Avon & Somerset announced.
“We anticipate that further significant savings will have to be found by 2018/19 and hope that by collaborating where we can, the impact on the delivery of frontline services will be lessened.”
This news comes at a time when local policing is undergoing major reorganisation. Commenting to Around Wellington on the merger announcement Sergeant Downey said, “In all honesty you know as much as I do. What I believe, however, is that the merger will be for administration and leadership purposes and that this will have little effect on core policing.”
Accepting that the merger is the outcome of budget cuts Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens is reported to have said, “My job as PCC is that when we have cuts, [we] minimise the impact on local communities.
“By doing this collaboration, by saving money in back-office and in specialist functions, we’re trying to lessen the impact on our frontline.”
PCC Sue Mountsteven will address a public meeting of Wellington Town Council at the United Reformed Church on Thursday 29th January at 6.30pm.
Police forces in England and Wales have seen their budgets reduced by 20% over the last 4 years. Avon and Somerset Constabulary has had to save £47m during that time and has had to sell off some of its police stations. Wiltshire Police needs to cut another £12m over the next few years.