Boys in blue in the black

PUBLISHED: 13:52 12 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:20 03 March 2010

DESPITE being stretched to the limit Suffolk Constabulary has finished the financial year in the black a report has revealed.

DESPITE being stretched to the limit Suffolk Constabulary has finished the financial year in the black a report has revealed.

The force had £61 million to police the county last year and underspent by £66,000 according to the end of year accounts for April 2000 to March 2001 for Suffolk Police Authority.

After 12 months described by Chief Constable Paul Scott-Lee as "unprecedented", the force's finances remain in a healthy position.

The last year has seen the force deal with 15 murders on top of regular crime fighting, which took officers away from front line duties and led to several performance indicators not being met.

Public satisfaction in the police force and the visible presence of bobbies on the beat plummeted to an all time low.

Along with rank-and-file officers, express concern has been voiced at the need to improve how they do their job. This in turn sparked the county's police federation to hold its first open meeting in more than a decade earlier this month.

The report shows that Suffolk Police Authority has earmarked £1.5 million between 2002-2005 to fund extra police officers alongside an expected rise in council tax and £250,000 for new uniforms.

The report details all the constabulary's cash movements and shows that Suffolk Constabulary saw a rise in the total value of its assets – including property – from £29.7 million to £35.4 million.

The force spent £2.4 million for the police helicopter – which became operational in October last year – and a new radio system for all its officers and the force's vehicle numbers rose from 399 to 415, while the number of police houses fell from 43 to 36.

The force spent £449,000 to Suffolk County Council for catering contract, £276,000 to Norfolk County Services for a cleaning contract plus £197,000 to Hampshire Constabulary for fingerprint equipment. Suffolk received £61,000 from Cambridgeshire police for help mostly during the Huntington Life Science demonstrations.

The figures, which are part of Suffolk Constabulary's accounts for 2000/2001, will be discussed by the Police Authority's audit and best value committee tomorrow.

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