Police forced to make £8m savings

PRESSURE to make savings of £8 million could lead to jobs being lost at Suffolk Police.The cash crisis has come about due to the need to modernise to counter threats such as international terrorism, at a time when funding from central government is declining.

PRESSURE to make savings of £8 million could lead to jobs being lost at Suffolk Police.

The cash crisis has come about due to the need to modernise to counter threats such as international terrorism, at a time when funding from central government is declining.

It comes just seven months after Suffolk Constabulary was forced to call on help from across the country after the bodies of five sex workers were found around the Ipswich area in December.

The cost of the inquiry is thought to top £19million, although the Home Office did contribute to the cost.

The plans were revealed in a report to the police authority which is due to meet on Friday.

As part of the changes the current sector areas, known as Basic Command Units (BCU) which are split into east, west and south could be merged, creating savings of more than £600,000.

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The report states: “Significant savings can be achieved in the reduction from three to two BCUs.

“Currently each BCU has a range of units, each performing the same function but only for their geographic area and often duplicating work that could be, or is carried out centrally.”

Choosing this option would mean that the post of a chief superintendent would disappear.

One senior manager has already been made redundant, saving £57,000 a year.

A timescale in the report shows that if any other redundancies are made, they will be announced by December this year.

It goes on to say changes are necessary due to limits on the increase of the central grant imposed by the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review.

According to the report this means an effective decrease in the constabulary's budget, and a need to achieve savings of £2 m in the financial year 2008 to 2009, followed by saving of £3 m per year for the next two years.

Potential savings of around £1 m have already been identified according to the report, after the force employed the services of consulting firm Avail to look at the efficiency of areas including management, standards and human resources.

However it is thought that the new Safer Neighbourhood Teams, rolled out across the county during the first half of this year, will be unaffected by any restructuring.

Newly appointed Chief Constable Simon Ash said: “Suffolk Constabulary is entering a period of major change, as we seek to deliver an effective and efficient policing service to the communities of Suffolk.

“The Police Service, like many public services, is facing a period of declining budgets in real terms whilst at the same time the demands on us have never been greater.”

n. Are you concerned by the measures? Do you fear for your job in the force?

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