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Police meeting demand despite ‘penny-wringing’ pressure on budgets

PUBLISHED: 14:45 09 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:45 09 November 2017

Inspectors say police are managing to meet increasing demand despite facing future saving requirements. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Inspectors say police are managing to meet increasing demand despite facing future saving requirements. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Police have been praised for managing to keep Suffolk safe in the face of financial constraints.

An annual report concluded Suffolk Constabulary had absorbed budget curbs against a backdrop of increasing demand from offences like modern slavery and honour crime.

It was among 30 forces awarded ‘good’ ratings by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC). Two forces were rated ‘outstanding’, while 10 required improvement.

Good ratings were also awarded in Essex and Norfolk, which won recognition for its ‘outstanding’ understanding of demand.

The HMIC’s Zoë Billingham said Suffolk police realised future savings would be difficult, but that plans for the future were “realistic and achievable”.

“I have every confidence that the chief constable and his team will continue to take all necessary steps to secure ongoing efficiencies while keeping the communities across Suffolk safe,” she added.

Deputy Chief Constable Steve Jupp said: “It is very pleasing to have received another ‘good’ rating and that the HMIC has recognised the work being done to make sure we continue to provide both a good service to those living and working in Suffolk.

“One area has been highlighted for further work – that the force should put in better processes to understand its response to, and allocation of crime, and how this affects the force’s ability to meet current and likely future demand efficiency.

“This is something we have already started to review, and refine the way we allocate crime, demonstrating we are not resting on our laurels in our commitment to keeping our communities safe.

In Essex, where police costs per head are lower than anywhere in the country, Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh welcomed the rating but urged a lack of funding to be ‘urgently’ addressed.

He added: “Being told we’re ‘performing well across the board’ recognises not only the good work Essex police officers and staff do every day but also our ambition and clarity about the future, even in the most challenging of times.

“We have more 999 calls for help than the national average and have moved people from local policing teams to deal with horrific crimes like child sexual abuse and rape.

“The report sets out very clearly that we are wringing the benefit out of every penny we have.”

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