Suffolk: Police chief denies 250 police and community support officers could go.
13:59 28 May 2014
Suffolk’s police chief today said suggestions the county could lose up to 250 police and community support officers over the next four years was “way wide of the mark”.
However, Suffolk Police Federation believes cuts in frontline personnel are inevitable, although it could not say how many posts would go.
The county’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said: “There are no plans for 250 job losses whatsoever, so I have no idea where that comes from.
“I think whoever provided that story has some questions to ask themselves.
“The whole thing is rather nonsensical. The last thing we need to do is to alarm people that this is happening, because it is not.
“This alarmist talk about 250 positions going is way wide of the mark. We haven’t even discussed it.”
He added if police posts were to go they would be through non-replacement or natural wastage.
What is not in doubt is that Suffolk Constabulary has a deep financial blackhole to overcome. It must save £16.4million over the next four years due to cutbacks to its Government grant.
Suffolk’s Police Federation Chairman Matt Gould said: “It’s a simple case of mathematics. We are in a position where the organisation is not able to make the savings anywhere other than from the wage bill. More than 80% of the budget is wages.
“I don’t believe we are going to make the necessary savings by means other than losing staff, whether it be officers or PCSOs or probably a combination.
“We are not going to be able to make these savings by partnership working or reducing the number of people in administrative departments.”
The report by the BBC that 250 police and PCSO posts could be lost followed Mr Passmore vetoing the proposal for Suffolk’s police control room to be moved to Norfolk in a shared centre at Wymondham. The relocation would have saved as estimated combined total of £1.84m a year, with Suffolk’s share being £632,000.
A linked move for various administrative functions to move to Suffolk was said to have the potential to save a further of £2.5m.
However, Mr Passmore turned down the proposal for relocating Suffolk’s control centre citing his discomfort over the possible risks to public safety.
Suffolk police have identified £6m in savings, but currently have a shortfall of £10m in the bid to balance the books by 2018.