More than 1,800 defence police and guard officers are to go under reforms announced by the Ministry of Defence.
In a written statement to Parliament, defence personnel ministerAndrew Robathan said he regretted the uncertainty and anxiety caused to staff involved but said the Government "can and will" make changes in guarding and civil policing.
Under the measures, the MoD Police is to downsize from a current strength of just under 3,100 to about 2,400 by April 2016. TheMoD Guard Service will be cut from just under 3,300 members to about 2,200 by April 2015.
The headquarters and management structures of each organisation will see costs slashed by 50%, said Mr Robathan. This will mean fewer security staff at some sites and a shift to more security being undertaken by staff who do not require police powers. Local police forces will also be utilised more.
|Andrew Robathan announced plans to cut |
2,000 defence police and guard officers
Mr Robathan said security would be maintained at all sites with a mixture of further measures due to be examined thoroughly after staff were consulted last year. This includes a "modest increase" in the number of defence sites relying on physical security alone for "part or all of the week".
In other locations, guard numbers could also be reduced, while in some defence communities the number of Defence Community Police Officers may be cut. A further consultation on other measures will consider using unarmed service personnel for security where this will not impact on operational readiness.
In his statement, Mr Robathan said: "Safeguarding our sites, people and assets - in particular those associated with our nuclear programme - remains a central priority.
"We have however concluded we can make sensible and prudent reductions in the number of guarding and civil policing posts at some of our sites, whilst continuing to maintain effective security."
Mr Robathan said the Ministry of Defence carried out a review of its civil policing and guarding policy in the wake of the Comprehensive Spending Review and the Strategic Defence and Security Review earlier in the Parliament.
He said it was the MoD's duty to make savings for the benefit of the taxpayer and to ensure resources are focussed on the front line. He concluded: "We can and will make savings in guarding and civil policing but I can assure the House effective security arrangements will be maintained at all defence sites."