Suffolk: Watchdog’s fears over the future of Suffolk policing

Concerns over policing in Suffolk Concerns over policing in Suffolk

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
12:01 AM

A police watchdog has raised fears for the future of neighbourhood policing in Suffolk and the constabulary’s ability to cope with major crimes.

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The force faces slashing £16.4million from its budget by 2018, having already saved millions of pounds.

Although Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) acknowledges the constabulary is making good progress towards balancing its books, it also raises the spectre of the potential problems in policing the county due to the drastic Government cutbacks.

The watchdog warned some smaller forces, such as Suffolk, could be at risk in the next three to five years if recent methods used to slash budgets do not change.

The report states: “Suffolk has a high level of risk and recent changes to its collaboration programme with Norfolk Constabulary puts it at further risk as it moves into the next spending review period.”

It highlighted its concern over the decision not to merge both counties control rooms which was made by Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore, and backed by the EADT and Ipswich Star. This would have saved Suffolk police £632,000 a year.

HMIC inspector Zoe Billingham said: “Continuing to apply the cost reductions in the same way in the next four years as they’ve been applied in these four years is not an option, and we’re very clear that the viability of some forces could be placed in jeopardy in three to five years’ time.

“By that we mean they would have to cut too hard and too deep into neighbourhood policing and they may not be able to guarantee or maintain the service that we’re currently seeing to the public.”

The HMIC report also warned that smaller forces with a large area to cover or high demand could find themselves unable to respond to “unexpected events”.

In a joint statement Mr Passmore and Chief Constable Douglas Paxton said: “The report says our response to the financial challenge of the spending review to date has been good.

“It highlights how we have delivered savings while reducing crime, improving our response to calls from the public, and increasing levels of satisfaction among those who need our help.

“It also stresses that we have achieved these savings while protecting front-line crime-fighting roles and the “Bobby on the Beat” in our Safer Neighbourhood Teams.

“However, the report does not shy away from highlighting the financial challenge we face.

“It judges that our savings plans for 2016 and beyond need development. Since HMIC inspected us in April, we have strengthened our plans.

“It is inevitable that over the next four years we will have to become a leaner organisation, with fewer officers and staff.

“Our goal at all times will be to keep people safe, whilst operating with fewer resources.”

Commenting on the report Suffolk Police Federation Chairman Matt Gould said: “With the cuts being applied to Suffolk, we will not be able to continue to offer the same levels of service to the public in the future that we have offered in the past.

“With less officers and resources you have to reduce the number of things you do for the public.

“You only get less for less.

“I do not accept we will not be able to deal with serious offences such as murder.

“We have always called upon our neighbouring forces to assist when necessary and this applied to our biggest force, the Met, when the London riots occurred in 2011.

“The protection of neighbourhood policing is essential to us in Suffolk.”

7 comments

  • Call the men in white coats!

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    blueinblue

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

  • Will a Suffolk Parish be the first to resurrect their power to appoint volunteer Parish constables ? I think the last elections to appoint parish constables was 1936. The state appoints constables by a power essentially on loan and trust of the people. But the power remains to appoint and swear in our own. Of course the situation would emerge in which Parish constables are true constables but police officers are not. A situation created about the year 2000 when the oath of office for police was changed to remove loyalty to the sole fount of justice in mercy (HM the Queen by Coronation Oath). hence for over a decade police have taken the public coin without having sworn in properly as independent ministerial officers of the Crown (The union of monarchy and people). The stability and peace of UK is meant to reside on the balancing powers of Crown and Parliament. Constables and judiciary are Crown independent in order to have authority to hold govt to account under the law. It is police who have acquiesced to becoming state police employees. It is worrying how many people think the Home Secretary tells the Chief constable what to do and that he is head of a command structure. And the difference between being given an order and being charged with a duty is beyond the psychometrically selected yes men who the state police recruit. The only "Order" to a constable has to be by separate Crown Authority. IE A warrant issued by Judiciary. I recall a terrorist bomb scene at which 11 people had been killed. Police at the rank of constable and sergeant became concerned that more senior police ranks were stealing evidence. But what did the police constables and police sergeants say ? "Put it this way if I said anything I would be out of a job next week". The officers unwilling to accept that in Crown rank they are all equal to their own Chief constable. That they are bound by oath as independent ministerial officers of the Crown. Yet every one of them betrayed oath to sustain income. All kept silent. Traitors all.

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    Gezoo

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

  • I remember Teresa May standing at the Dispatch Box in The House of Commons and saying "There will be no reduction in the number of Police on the front line", when is she going to be charged with misleading Parliament ?

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    freedomf

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

  • If they're looking to save money they could begin by getting rid of the pointless PCCs and the costly elections that put them in post on an average turnout of just 16%. Or maybe the Tories should apply the same criterion to the election of PCCs as they want to apply to union ballots: not legitimate unless supported by at least 50% of those eligble to vote.

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    Origami Penguin

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

  • Ask the People who actually do the work rather than those who talk for their living , you will then get a different view of how things really are . To continue to cut as much out fo the budget as they have to will effect the ability to do all aspects of policing . One of the largest waste of money has been Landmark House , but then what do i know ;)

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    Poppys Dad

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

  • You have to laugh, eh? Oh the irony! :-D

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    Alice

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

  • If we are to beleave what we read and hear about crime falling in Suffolk we won't want so many police officers will we or was that report twisted. Getting rid of mr Passmore will save a few more bob and put a proper police offer in charge would help.

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    pandy

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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