Suffolk set to lose its force

SUFFOLK'S chief constable today effectively ruled out the possibility of retaining an independent force for the county.Alastair McWhirter was speaking as options for the future of forces in East Anglia continue to be examined.

SUFFOLK'S chief constable today effectively ruled out the possibility of retaining an independent force for the county.

Alastair McWhirter was speaking as options for the future of forces in East Anglia continue to be examined.

Suffolk Constabulary and Suffolk Police Authority have been asked to further examine three options for future policing structures in the region.

The Home Office has contacted forces and police authorities across the country after they submitted initial business cases which included options for future structures.


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Suffolk Constabulary and Suffolk Police Authority submitted a joint initial business case after four options were agreed at an authority meeting held on October 27.

The four options, in no order of preference, were:

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· Creating a regional 'super force' by merging all six East Anglian forces (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk).

· Amalgamating Suffolk Constabulary with Norfolk and Cambridgeshire Constabularies.

· Amalgamating Suffolk Constabulary with Norfolk Constabulary and Essex Police.

· Maintaining and enhancing the 'status quo' - with Suffolk Constabulary continuing to police the county of Suffolk.

Now, the Home Office has responded to the Chief Constable and Police Authority, supporting further work on the three options involving amalgamations - but indicating that the 'status quo' option is not suitable for progression.

Suffolk's Chief Constable Alastair McWhirter said: “It was important to receive this feedback from the Home Office as it gives a clear indication of where we should concentrate our efforts.

“It effectively rules out the 'status quo' option - although any decision regarding the options rests with the Police Authority.

“The challenge we face now is paring these options to one preferred option to meet the next Home Office deadline, before Christmas.

“We will be working closely with the five other forces in the Eastern Region - through the recently-formed virtual regional working group - to consider which options are the best for each force.

“As I have said before, our aim is to get the structure which is best suited for continuing to deliver a top quality policing service to local people. In the weeks ahead, both the Constabulary and Police Authority will be working very hard to ensure we identify the right option for Suffolk.”

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