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Frontline policing pledge from Somerset's new commander
THE new police commander for Somerset says she doesn’t expect to lose a “huge amount” of frontline officers when money-saving cuts are made across the force.
Ch Supt Nikki Watson pledged to try and keep as many PCs and PCSOs as possible on the county’s streets as she settles into her role.
It comes as bosses plan to make savings of £15million over the next two years.
Ch Supt Watson said: “The force is undergoing a big piece of work at the moment.
“We’re looking at making sure we’re delivering fantastic services but also we have to make some savings so they are reviewing the resource levels.
“They are not going to be taking a huge amount of resources out of Somerset but I don’t anticipate getting a huge amount of resources into Somerset either.
“At the moment we’re still under cuts but we’re trying to minimise the number to PC and PCSO posts.”
Avon and Somerset Police merged its three Somerset districts – North, East and West – in June, with Ch Supt Watson taking overall charge.
She says she will target rural offenders and not allow her officers to be sent to larger cities.
“Somerset is my area and there is no way that I’d allow all the resources to go up to Bristol,” she said.
“In Somerset there is a whole variety of crime. In some of our bigger town centres such as Taunton there will be burglaries and vehicle crime and the sorts of crimes you would get in an urban area.
“But there are huge tracts of rural Somerset which can get overlooked and lots of members of the public that don’t live in those areas don’t understand crime and anti-social behaviour that takes place.”
As reported in the Mercury, Avon and Somerset Police is preparing to make cutbacks following the Government spending review earlier this year.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said finding these savings will mean “fundamental” changes to policing.
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