Police deny money wasting claims

Devon and Cornwall police have hit back at union claims the force is to ‘waste’ money replacing civilian investigators with high-paid police officers.

The police have denied union claims the Devon and Cornwall force is to fire almost 80 civilian investigators.

The GMB claims Devon and Cornwall police have given notice to 79 support staff – saying they will be replaced by retrained and ‘highly-paid’ police officers who will take on criminal investigations, fingerprinting, forensics and deal with corpses.

Devon and Cornwall police said a formal consultation process regarding civilian investigator posts began in March, in a bid to cut costs, and a proposal had been put forward in regard to the roles as part of the ongoing consultation period.

The GMB said the force’s actions were a ‘wilful waste of money’ and were seeking to take legal action in the hope of saving jobs.

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The union claims newly-appointed officers will be paid �35,000 while the sacked workers earned �25,000.

A Devon and Cornwall police spokesman said: “From May 2011 the force will adopt a new model of policing and this modernised method of reducing and investigating crime means the number of investigators needed, whether police officers or civilian staff, is reduced.

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“As a result of this remodelling the proposal being put forward is to disestablish all civilian Investigator posts within local investigation teams, major crime investigation teams and the serious and organised crime branch.

“It is important to stress this is a proposal and as such no decision regarding these posts has been made.

“Whilst this proposal would see a reduction in civilian investigators by around 80 posts the number of dedicated crime investigators within the force will rise due to the redeployment of existing response officers to local crime investigation units.

“This rise will enable the force to maintain and increase victim satisfaction with a single officer investigating crime from an initial report to detection.”

Kevin Norman, GMB spokesman, said, “This is a wilful waste of money. It will also not help that there will be less police on Cornwall and Devon’s streets. “These are not 79 lost posts. Instead they are 79 posts that will be taken over by the frontline police officers.

“The impact on police efficiency will be great. GMB plan to go to court to see if we can stop it.”

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