This afternoon I was one of a number of councillors to meet with Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Taylor for a briefing on the cuts to our Police Force. During the meeting I asked ACC Taylor to reconsider the decision to make redundant the civilian crime investigators.
As I blogged before, the crime investigators are a highly efficient group of back office staff who take statements and investigate crimes. They have a success rate roughly double that of uniformed officers, they cost less and they free up uniformed officers to do the front line jobs that most members of the public want them to do.
But they are an easy target for cuts because, unlike police officers, they can be made redundant. And so all crime investigators in Devon and Cornwall are threatened with redundancy.
Although the reply I got from ACC Taylor was not hugely encouraging, it was refreshing to hear a top public service manager give a straight answer and I thank her for giving the time to talk to councillors.. She made it clear that the force would rather not have to make the cut, but that they have entered a formal consultation with a view to making the entire squad redundant.
I still have hopes that either the chief officers or the Police Authority will have a change of heart and recognise that civilian crime investigators fulfill a hugely valuable role and allow uniformed officers to spend more time on the beat.