Police finances mean more collaboration

BRACING itself for the effects of further financial belt-tightening Suffolk’s Constabulary has set out its strategy for increased collaboration with other forces and organisations.

Its proposals are likely to go before the county’s police authority later this month.

The need to save around �8million over a three-year period has been one of the key drivers in an ever-increasing number of the constabulary’s departments being merged with outside partners.

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

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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On Friday, the police authority’s strategy committee is being asked to ratify the force’s provisional statement on Norfolk and Suffolk continued work together. If approved this is scheduled to go before the full authority on April 23.

The report prepared by Christopher Jackson, chief executive of the police authority, states: “The authority recognises that collaboration is key to enabling it to sustain its currently level of service.

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“Collaboration will help address the protective services capacity gap and create the efficiencies that are necessary to be re-invested in frontline policing.

“The authority is engaged in an extensive programme of collaborative activity with Norfolk, with further policing partners at regional policing level and more locally with other public sector partners.

“There is recognition that the collaboration will have to be extended further into collaboration with other partners to deliver the additional capacity, and deliver the greater efficiencies that will be needed in a tighter financial climate.”

The authority is looking to share the responsibility for protective services, business support services and operational support services, such as custody and its criminal justice unit, with Norfolk.

At a regional level Suffolk’s counter terrorism intelligence unit and forensic services framework dovetail with other forces.

The Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team, which merged on March 31, last year has also been hailed as a success story by senior officers over the past year.

In a feisty rebuttal to suggestions of a merger made last December, Gulshan Kayembe, chairman of Suffolk Police Authority - who is standing down on April 23 - poured cold water on the idea of one force for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

She said: “We are on a trajectory for collaboration, not a trajectory for merging. We are not interested in merging – we don’t wish to and don’t see the benefit of going down the route of merging.”

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