SOUTH Yorkshire Police has been named as one of five forces which will struggle to cope with future budget cuts.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) said South Yorkshire Police had few options left because it had chosen to rely on short-term savings rather than transforming its efficiency.

HMIC has tracked police forces’ response to budget cuts since summer 2011, using force data and inspection to analyse how they're making savings, the impact of this on their workforce, and on the service they provide.

HM Inspector of Constabulary, Zoe Billingham, said there had been a good response overall to the financial situation but there was 'considerable variation in the approaches taken by forces'.

She said: "In some cases this leaves us with concerns about how some forces will manage in the face of further cuts.

"We also have some concerns that neighbourhood policing risks being eroded as forces change how they deliver local policing."

HMIC said broadening the remit of neighbourhood policing would have a potentially detrimental effect on crime prevention work and impair the level of service the public received.

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said the force faced needing to make savings of nearly £50million from its overall policing budget between 2011 and 2015 and had worked hard to identify ways of making savings while protecting front line services, continuing to drive down crime rates and enhance public satisfaction.

He added: "We are confident, with the support of the Police and Crime Commissioner and with our partner bodies, that we will not only deliver all the savings required, but will adapt to this age of austerity in way that places public safety and satisfaction at the heart of the future policing model in South Yorkshire."