FEARS over the future of crimefighting in Coventry follow the announcement that 2,500 more police jobs face the axe under £130million additional budget cuts.
West Midlands Police is also to explore working in partnership with private firms as it ‘shrinks to the smallest size in its 41-year history’.
Unveiling its ‘blueprint’ for a ‘new era’ follows more unprecendented government cuts in the force’s funding.
The predicted job losses among officers and civilian staff by 2020 is similar to the number of posts lost since the coalition government came to power in 2010 pledging to elimate the national deficit.
More government fundings cuts to police forces nationwide are expected whoever forms the government after May’s election as the national deficit has only been halved.
Coventry Labour MPs including Geoffrey Robinson and Jim Cunningham are backing a West Midlands-wide campaign for fairer funding – claiming better-off areas in southern England have been spared such drastic cuts.
Mr Robinson is among those who fear harm to frontline policing from funding cuts and the force’s capacity to fight crime.
The force says it has developed its blueprint after consultation with staff which attracted 5,000 responses.
A force statement said £130million savings over the four next years came on top of savings of £125million already made since 2010.
It says the blueprint reflects the “growing use of technology and digital engagement used by the public” in reporting incidents, alongside more focus on preventing crime including by expanding the force’s approach to “prolific offenders” working with other agencies.
Neighbourhood policing will be more concentrated in “areas of the most need”.
But the force insists it will look to “develop a neighbourhood policing model not constrained by geographical boundaries” acorss the seven council areas including Coventry.
Chief Constable Chris Sims said the force needed to respond to change by becoming “a smaller, faster, smarter service that is responsive to the needs of local communities.”
He added: “Neighbourhood policing is key to our relationships with communities.”
Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “We are doing all we can to ensure we can deliver what the public needs and desires.
“Over the next five years we will be working hard to introduce new technology that will enable officers to work more effectively in serving the public.”