POLICING in East Lancashire is to undergo a major shake up after it emerged the force needs to save an extra £20 million than initially thought.

Lancashire police’s Chief Constable Steve Finnigan has announced plans to cut the number of policing divisions in the county by half, from six to three.

This move will see Eastern division, which covers Blackburn with Darwen, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley, merge with Pennine division which covers Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale.

Police chiefs hope the restructuring will help the force meet government cuts of £60million increased from £43million.

As part of the restructuring there will be a reduction in senior management roles including the loss of one Chief Officer and a reduction in Chief Superintendents.

Chief Constable Finnigan said: “Changing our senior management structure in this way means that we can recognise significant savings without impacting on frontline policing or the services we provide to the public.

“As I have said many times, we will do all that we can to protect the frontline during these difficult and challenging financial times and this option allows us to do that.

“So far was have identified £40million, however, an additional £20million – with around £10.5m to be taken out before 1 April 2014 – is a different proposition and one which has pushed us to a solution which will see us deconstruct, in part, the model and structures that have served us and the public well for more than a decade.”

The structural changes which also includes Western division and Northern division and Southern division and Central division merging is expected to be in place by April 1, 2014.

A review of H division, with includes the force’s resources including horses, dogs, fire arms, road policing, public order and the police helicopter, will also take place along with G division, which includes force wide teams such as major investigation teams, serious and organised crime and counter terrorism.

The Chief Constable told his staff that these changes will be the biggest the force has seen in 17 years.