FROM next month, Wiltshire Police will no longer have officers based at Amesbury who respond to 999 calls.

The force will have response officers working out of just four stations – Salisbury, Chippenham, Trowbridge and Swindon.

Four other stations across the county will also lose their response officers.

The move will coincide with the introduction of new shift patterns.

The force says that by clustering the officers in hubs, a more effective shift pattern can be used to provide better 24/7 coverage.

Wiltshire Police has to save £14million over the next four years.

Chief Superintendent Andrew Tatam said a neighbourhood policing team will still be based at Amesbury.

Response officers will be briefed at Salisbury but with mobile technology they will be on patrol across the south of the county for the whole of their shift, only returning to the station if absolutely necessary. Chief Supt Tatam said: “Frontline services and public safety are paramount. The force will be maintaining its current local policing resource numbers as far as it is able to, supplemented by the growing number of special constables.

“Our response teams will continue to be supported by specialist response staff – the Armed Response Group, Dog Section and Roads Policing Group. Therefore Amesbury can expect and will receive the same service.”

The Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, says it will assess the new system once it is up and running.

The Wiltshire Federation’s chairman, Inspector Kate Pain, said: “With the budgetary constraints, there are very few options available to the force. We will support the force to minimise disruption to staff and the public so the level of service doesn’t deteriorate. We will monitor how effective the new response hubs are.”