Frontline policing in Brighton and Hove is expected to survive the coming round of spending cuts relatively unscathed.
The news emerged yesterday as Chief Constable Martin Richards set out ways in which Sussex Police is likely to cut £50 million from its budget over the next five years.
Overtime is expected to be cut, at times by half.
One way of achieving this will be to ask officers to hand on cases to colleagues at the end of a shift rather than stay on racking up extra pay.
Staff will be encouraged to take unpaid career breaks and to work more flexibly, in particular, to work fewer paid hours.
And the police helicopter based at Shoreham is likely to be shared with Surrey and Hampshire. Surrey will share its helicopter too, while Hampshire will no longer use its aircraft.
Mr Richards spelt out more of his initial proposals for savings in an update to members of the Sussex Police Authority.
At County Hall in Lewes, Mr Richards said: “We will maintain a district model of policing.
“We will make decisions on savings on the basis of the impact they will have on our service to the public and on our staff, alongside considering how much money we can save.”
He told members of the police authority that the force executive board had met on Tuesday 6 July with staff associations and the Unison trade union.
The meeting, which included police authority members and officers, had discussed many ideas for savings and changes which had been put forward by staff.
Since then, he said, chief officers had decided that the force should plan for savings through a series of measures. These include
Make radical changes to our support functions – finance, procurement, human resources and information technology – to provide better value for money for the public.
Perform a significant overhaul of all policy, audit and performance monitoring functions.
Cut carbon emissions from the force by 10 per cent next year.
Make better use of the internet, including encouraging people to report crime online.
Merge North and West Downs Divisions into one West Sussex Division.
Investigate building a shared operating model with Surrey for some services.
Mr Richards added: “Sussex Police, like the rest of the public sector, is facing really difficult financial challenges in the future.
“It is not going to be easy but we are absolutely committed to putting the needs of the public first as we make tough choices.”