Police chief's plea over border change

A CHIEF Constable is to make an eleventh hour plea to the Boundary Committee for Lowestoft to stay under Suffolk control.

Russell Claydon

A CHIEF Constable is to make an eleventh hour plea to the Boundary Committee for Lowestoft to stay under Suffolk control.

Simon Ash, Chief Constable of Suffolk, will argue a number of reasons why moving Lowestoft under a Norfolk authority in a shake-up of local government would have “detrimental implications” on frontline policing in Suffolk.

He will now draft a letter to the Boundary Committee calling for a “One Suffolk” unitary authority - including Lowestoft - to get the green light, after receiving majority backing from the Suffolk Police Authority board.

The authority was told yesterday that Suffolk police could become one of the smallest forces in the country if the Secretary of State allowed Norfolk to police Lowestoft.

Chief Con Ash said it was a real possibility that his constabulary could lose a quarter of its officers if the make shake-up went ahead.

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“I strongly believe that in order to deliver a local, effective and efficient policing service to Suffolk as a whole, Lowestoft must remain in the county within whichever option of unitary authority is finally agreed,” he said.

“I intend to appose the proposal to move Lowestoft into a Norfolk unitary authority.”

He also voiced fears that if Lowestoft was allowed to join Norfolk under the review it could lead to a downturn in funding allocation for his force, which would have a detrimental impact on frontline policing.

His decision to draft the letter to the Boundary Committee comes just two weeks before the public consultation stage is closed.

Waveney District Council leader Mark Bee told the police authority meeting: “It puts not just Lowestoft in a bleak position, but also Suffolk police.

“To throw Lowestoft into another administrative area does reignite the whole issue of amalgamation in the police force.”

Colin Spence, a Conservative councillor for Sudbury East and Waldingfield, said: “The constabulary has kept its powder dry up until now but this is the time we have to have our say because this is our last chance.”

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