POLICE budget cuts will see Barnsley split in two.

South Yorkshire Police plans to merge its neighbourhood and response officers to form two teams, one covering the east of the borough based at Wombwell Police Station, and the other covering the west based at Barnsley.

This will replace the current two-tier structure of safer neighbourhood teams who tackle anti-social behaviour and the response teams who deal with 999 calls.

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings said 89 per cent of the police budget is currently spent on staff and he was determined to retain neighbourhood policing in spite of cuts.

"All police officers will be required to have a neighbourhood focus and spend more time out in the community," he said.

He said officers now had mobile technology, which allows them to access systems and write on-the-spot reports rather than returning to a station.

The changes, due to be implemented in the spring, are being introduced as part of £45 million budget cuts over the next five years.

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said no police stations were due to close and information on potential job losses was not yet available.