Enormous challenges lie ahead in wake of funding cuts

IPSWICH: Funding cuts could have a major effect on community relations with police, it was claimed at ISCRE’s AGM.

More than 200 people from across Suffolk, including a coach group from Bury St Edmunds, packed into Ipswich Town Hall where the issue of funding cuts across the public sector and the effect on community cohesion were discussed.

Chairman Hamil Clarke revealed that Suffolk police were pulling funding for the innovative Stop and Search Reference Group, which looks at why a disproportionate number of the people from ethnic groups are searched by police but not charged.

He believes there are “enormous challenge ahead” as a result.

Miss Basham, chief executive, said: “This is a serious blow to good community relations in Suffolk.

“The group has been instrumental in helping reduce the totally excessive use of stop and search powers against black and minority ethnic (BME) populations.”

Assistant Chief Constable Stewart Gull, said: “Suffolk Constabulary are facing severe financial cuts of at least �20 million over the next four years.

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“This is over and above the additional unplanned in year savings of �1.4m.

“To meet this challenge, the Constabulary and Police Authority are looking at all areas of expenditure to make the necessary savings, while maintaining a policing service to keep Suffolk safe.

“This review includes reviewing grants to other organisations as they come up for renewal – and we have had to make the very difficult decision not to re-new our grant to ISCRE for a third year.”