UNISON has launched a campaign to prevent Sussex Police from axing up to 1,000 jobs over the next five years.
Figures revealed by the force this week show that front-line posts are most under threat, with 700 fewer officers and support staff by 2020, while another 300 staff jobs will be lost elsewhere in the force.
Having dealt with £50m cuts over the past five years, Sussex Police now faces having to cut another £56m over the next five, with the union warning that these cuts will focus almost solely on jobs.
“While we have sympathy with the situation Sussex Police find themselves in as a result of government- imposed cut backs, UNISON is opposed to these plans and will continue to fight to protect jobs and services,” warned UNISON Sussex police branch secretary Andy Stenning.
“The force has partnered with an outside contractor to draw up these proposals – at a cost of £500,000 so far, with further costs to come.
“These proposals are not driven by the desire to improve and enhance the service the force provides to the people of Sussex, and will mean a marked reduction in service.
“This will reduce the workforce beyond a safe margin and lead to a serious and fundamental loss of service.”
Mr Stenning added that “the majority of these cuts will focus on neighbourhood policing, with the loss of a number of PCSO posts.
“Frontline policing needs to be protected and we need to ensure it is rooted in our communities.”
The union has set up a dedicated online campaign against the cuts and is urging people to write to police minister Mike Penning and Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne to voice their opposition.