Suffolk/Essex: Crime levels fluctuate amid budget cuts

POLICE cuts across Suffolk and Essex have led to marked differences in crime levels, according to a new report.

Between December 2010 and December 2011, crime levels in Essex have risen by 3% while they have fallen by 1%in Suffolk – compared to a 3% drop in England and Wales.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has published its Policing in Austerity report which examined how police forces are coping with a 30% cut in funding provided to the police service from March 2011 to March 2015.

Essex Police is faced with saving more than �42million a year by 2014/15. It achieved savings of �16m by last December.

Essex Chief Constable Jim Barker-McCardle said: “Essex police will continue to deploy our resources intelligently and strategically to keep our communities safe and secure.

“This involves a strong commitment to highly visible parts of the force such as neighbourhood policing, investigation teams and response and patrol officers.

“It also necessitates the provision of essential policing services which are properly conducted out of the public eye – such as specialist protection of vulnerable people, counter- terrorism work and intelligence gathering.”

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However, recent crime rate figures from April 1 to July 1, 2012, show a significant reversal of crime levels with a reduction of 5.4%.

By March 2015, Essex Police will have increased its proportion of officers in frontline roles from 82% to 91%, meaning it has a greater proportion than most other forces.

Meanwhile Suffolk has been praised for its “ambitious and well-planned” partnership work with Norfolk Constabulary as Suffolk seeks to save a total of �16.9m.

Suffolk Chief Constable Simon Ash said: “Already the programme has helped us meet our joint savings target in the last financial year by delivering more shared services in both operational policing and creating joint units for business support functions such as HR and ICT.

“Importantly, this has been achieved while maintaining the number of response and neighbourhood Constables and PCSOs working in our communities, following a re-organisation of our local policing service last year.”

The number of frontline officers will increase to around 1,200 within the next two years.

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