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Thames Valley Police forced to make 'difficult choices' as it looks to save £22m

The chief constable of Thames Valley Police (TVP) has revealed the force will require further savings of £22m in the coming years after figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed TVP now has 244 fewer officers on the streets than in 2010.

Between March 2010 and September 2015 the force lost 144 officers, with another 100 lost for the year up until September last year.

Figures released earlier this month for the previous 12 months show that rates of crime in the Thames Valley area have continued to rise, but still remain lower than five years ago.

Over the last six years £87m has been cut from TVP’s budget with another £10.5m in savings needed for 2017/18.

Chief constable Francis Habgood said: “We are facing continuing financial pressures to deal with increasing costs and growing demand, which will require further savings of £22m. This has meant we have had to make difficult choices.

“As with every service we need to prioritise our demand, for example in recent years we have made considerable investment in protecting the most vulnerable.

“I will continue to ensure that we use our finite resources to deliver the best possible policing to our communities.”

Thames Valley police and crime commissioner Anthony Stansfeld told the Advertiser in 2014 that he disagreed with government cuts and that it would be a shame to lose officers in the area.

At the time, he said: “Apart from balancing the books, these savings are required in order to fund the investigation of complex crimes, such as child sexual exploitation and domestic violence.

“Continuing to identify and make savings is becoming more challenging. However, since demand on the police is changing, we must continue to transform and reform our police service.”

Mr Stansfeld declined to comment on the issue this week due to pre-election purdah.

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