Police cuts: Sidmouth coverage could ‘have to take a hit’.

PUBLISHED: 16:58 14 December 2010

Emergency Police Services

Emergency Police Services

Archant

SIDMOUTH’S police coverage could ‘have to take a hit’ in the face of force spending cuts, the town’s sergeant has warned.

SIDMOUTH’S police coverage could ‘have to take a hit’ in the face of force spending cuts, the town’s sergeant has warned.

Devon and Cornwall Constabulary plans to cut 700 officers over four years in the wake of October’s Government Spending Review.

On Monday, PS Andy Turner told town councillors, concerned over early hours coverage: “It is what it is at the moment. Unfortunately, the future is not much brighter… We are all going to have to take a hit.”

He added, however, Sidmouth is “blessed” with cover compared to other areas in the region.

PS Turner said officers having to help and attend incidents in other, short-staffed, East Devon towns would have a “knock-on effect” and stretch Sidmouth’s 24-hour coverage.

He said: “We are one of the better staffed police stations.

“We do have a police presence 24 hours a day for Sidmouth police station. Generally, staff problems come from illness, secondments and annual leave.

“Over the years we’ve been very well blessed in the town compared to others. Ten police officers are allocated to work seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Police work in pairs.

“We are carrying one or two vacancies and in the current climate, it is unlikely those vacancies will ever be filled.”

Councillor Frances Newth said she had received calls from residents concerned over police coverage in the early hours following an act of vandalism in which four shop windows were smashed in Fore Street last month.

PS Turner said enquiries were ongoing into the incident.

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