Fewer police for Suffolk to make savings

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Suffolk Police numbers will have to be radically cut back in order to achieve savings of £16.4million by 2018.

This will mean axing 83 police officer posts over the next two years and 38 staff jobs.

A report to the Police and Crime Panel tomorrow highlights the way Suffolk Police will achieve the savings.

Some of the measures will include more sharing opportunities with neighbouring forces, a possible reduction in the use of the police helicopter and possible changes to the location and provision of headquarter functions.

The job losses would be achieved through a recruitment freeze and natural wastage.

A review of collaboration with Norfolk Police on matters such as protective services and justice services is expected to save £3.4million over the next four years while changes to Suffolk’s policing methods should realise £12.9million.

The savings will be carried out in two phases, the first being job cuts over the next two years and the second through a re-design of how Suffolk Police operates and more collaboration.

Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “The Chief Constable has presented a range of options to plug the funding gap and I am reassured that we will be able to meet this financial challenge and continue to keep the county safe, but one thing is clear - Suffolk Constabulary will have to change. There will be fewer staff and fewer police officers in Suffolk; we just can’t afford to keep officer numbers at the current level.

“The reduction in police numbers will be met through natural turnover combined with the ongoing recruitment freeze.”

Suffolk Police currently employs 1,207 full-time officers and 87 per cent of its budget is spent on staffing.

Chief Constable Douglas Paxton said: “We are working from a good position as a strong police force with a history of performing extremely well but we are already a low cost force providing good value for money for our communities. Our change programme will result in significant re-modelling of our organisation, its staffing levels and the way in which we conduct our business so our latest plans necessarily have to involve reductions in officer and staff numbers.”