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Suffolk: Police force set to share more services with neighbouring Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 09:00 22 September 2011

Suffolk Constabulary looks set to share more services with the force in Norfolk

Suffolk Constabulary looks set to share more services with the force in Norfolk

Archant

POLICE in Suffolk and Norfolk look set to significantly increase levels of collaboration as they try to slash millions from budgets, the EADT can reveal.

The move towards closer working was last night welcomed as the most effective way of saving money – although current Government policy makes a full merger unlikely.

While some services have already been merged between the two forces – such as air support, dog units and special branch – many other areas are now being looked at.

They include rape investigation, firearms, road policing and scientific services, counter terrorism and command and control.

Suffolk Constabulary has already confirmed it is to shed 100 police officers and 200 civilian posts by 2015 as it battles to slash £13.5million over the next four years. That would take the number of frontline officers to its lowest level since 2002.

By collaborating with the neighbouring force it is hoped that this will cut costs even further.

The details emerged at a meeting of the Eastern Region Collaboration Joint Statutory Committee, held yesterday at Suffolk Constabulary headquarters at Martlesham Heath, near Ipswich.

Last night Matt Gould, chairman of Suffolk Police Federation, said they were supportive of closer collaboration with colleagues in Norfolk to achieve the best for the people of Suffolk.

“The Government have not ruled out merger if there is political will in both sides of the boarder but will not finance it or force it,” he said. “We will shortly share nearly every policing function with Norfolk including crime investigation, prisoner processing , intelligence, roads policing and fire arms response to name a few. There are very few areas where we see a continued two force approach, one may be local neighbourhood policing.

“There is no fear in the Suffolk Police Federation when considering amalgamation, it’s arguably the most effective solution to deal with less resources, but Government policy currently makes a single force unlikely. There would be little point in forcing through expensive unnecessary police and crime commissioners only to remove them as a result of amalgamation.”

Time and time again senior figures representing the county’s police force have railed against the idea of a full merger with other constabularies.

They have continually stressed collaboration is the way forward if Suffolk is to retain its autonomy over its own police force.

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A group of men from London are facing drugs charges and money laundering offences after a police chase on the A14 at the weekend.

Drivers heading home from work in west Suffolk this evening could face long delays on the A11 after a lorry tipped over on the southbound carriageway near Barton Mills.

Proposals for an accommodation complex housing 2,400 power station construction workers in Suffolk have been criticised in an independent report – with energy bosses urged to rethink the plans.

Police have named a 43-year-old man who died in a crash on the A140 at Mendlesham yesterday as Colin Fisk from Kesgrave.

An Ipswich computer repairer who downloaded child porn has walked free from court after a judge decided not to send him straight to prison.

A jealous Suffolk man who fired a BB gun at a car after finding text messages from the vehicle’s owner on his partner’s phone has been jailed for ten months.

A Suffolk footballer who lost both his legs in a horrific hit and run crash has fulfilled his ambition of walking down the aisle on his wedding day.

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