News : Threat to More Than 50 Cumbria Police Call Centre Jobs
Cumbria, UK, March 23, 2015 - More than 50 jobs look set to be axed in the control room at Cumbria Police - with more officers instead of civilians manning phones.
It is understood that 54 full-time equivalent posts would go in any shake-up at the force’s Carleton Hall communications centre in Penrith where 132 people currently work.
Cumbria Police must save £10.8m by 2018/19 as stinging cost cutting continues. It is thought these latest reforms - one of a number of operations under review - could save £1.6m.
It is being proposed to axe many civilian roles and move to a new command and control room model of operation which would see officers fielding calls.
Force chiefs say police officers are better skilled and more experienced to deal with calls coming in, leading to improved responses to incidents and a more efficient service.
A formal 45-day consultation began with staff and union representatives last week and will continue until late April.
Any job losses are likely to take effect in late September before full implementation of the new command room operations in April 2016. Voluntary redundancies and losses through "natural wastage" are being sought.
Cumbria Police says how it manages its calls remains of "utmost importance" and that it is looking to ensure that any changes do not impact on the public.
Deputy Chief Constable Michelle Skeer said: "This is being considered because answering calls from the public is a frontline function of policing and experienced police officers have the skills and knowledge to be able to resolve queries immediately, or grade the severity of an incident based on their judgement.
"Anyone who calls the constabulary would speak to an officer immediately, without waiting to be transferred or for an officer to arrive on scene. This could reduce demand for an officer to be deployed to some calls. However, if an officer is required to attend this would still happen."
She added: "This proposed change is part of our need to make financial savings.
"We appreciate the hard work of all our staff members and difficult decisions affecting our workforce are not made lightly. In an ideal world we would not want to make any staff member redundant. However, the constabulary continues to face major financial challenges."
Final decisions on the proposals are expected to be made by chief officers in May. DCC Skeer said that "every effort" would be made to reduce the number of compulsory job losses by redeploying staff where possible.
Martin Plummer, chairman of Cumbria Police Federation, which represents officers but not civilian staff, said: "We are working very closely with the organisation as part of the change programme which is part of the wider picture of cuts.
"It is one of the areas we are trying to streamline to provide as good or better service as possible."
No-one at Unison, which represents civilian workers, was available for comment.
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Cumbria County Council is the county council of Cumbria, a county in the North West of England. Established in 1974, following its first elections held a year before that, it is an elected local government body responsible for the most significant local services in the county, including county schools, county roads, and social services.
Published: Monday, March 23, 2015