The police force will continue to recruit officers over the next few years, despite the need to make a $200 million budget cut, the new Deputy Police Commissioner, Gordon Fung Siu-yuen, said yesterday. Mr Fung said the force was still working out how to meet the government's target of cutting 1.8 per cent from its $12 billion budget in the next financial year. Government departments are also required to further cut spending by one per cent in each of the subsequent three years. But Mr Fung said reductions would be achieved through natural attrition and officers would be redeployed if posts were made redundant. Between 600 and 700 officers leave the force every year, either to retire or to change jobs. Mr Fung said the force would continue its annual recruitment exercise to prevent a succession problem in future. But he admitted that making further savings would not be easy after spending had been cut by more than $632 million over the past three years. 'There are difficulties. But we are optimistic about meeting the target,' Mr Fung said. While measures could include contracting out non-police services and streamlining work on merging police stations, he said frontline services would not be affected. Mr Fung, who took up the deputy post yesterday, said all major units had been asked to compile reports on ways to save money by the end of the year. Force management would try to communicate more with frontline officers on the cost-cutting plan. 'No one is happy to see money being taken from his pocket. But I think they will understand the need under the current climate,' Mr Fung said.