ABOUT 140 police officer jobs will be axed across the West Mercia force area over the next four years, it has emerged.

As part of controversial deal with Warwickshire police force, a combined 200 frontline officers will go by 2016 – 70 per cent of whom will come from West Mercia Police.

A draft version of the Police and Crime Plan was recently launched by the region’s new elected police chief Bill Longmore.

It runs to 55 pages and is designed to last until 2017, includes 450 civilian job cuts across both forces, including 315 from West Mercia Police.

Some of the 140 posts set to go are vacancies which are currently empty, although police chiefs will not say how many.

Both forces have formed an alliance designed at saving £31 million between them, £20 million of which would come from West Mercia.

Mr Longmore said: “The biggest challenge is the spending reductions we face. However, our plans to work with Warwickshire should help the maintenance of service standards despite these.

“From my first day in office we have been working hard to ensure we have a detailed and meaningful plan on which to consult.”

Police chiefs yesterday said they could not give any further figures breaking down the number of officers being axed at this stage.

Mr Longmore said he hoped natural wastage and promotions to other ranks would make up the bulk of the losses.

West Mercia Police has a budget of more than £200 million but is facing cuts in funding from the Government of at least three per cent by 2015.