Suffolk police are becoming emergency response service only, warns officers’ union
Suffolk Police Federation has warned the cutbacks mean the force could be taking a major step closer to becoming an emergency response only service.
The union fears by taking officers off the streets police will become more remote and lose valuable intelligence about what is happening in communities.
Its Secretary Mick Richardson said: “It is with great regret that as a result of unprecedented reductions in government spending on policing nationally that the Suffolk Constabulary has to - yet again - restructure and redesign its public facing service to the communities that we serve.
“Back in 2010 when the first cuts were announced, I warned that eventually, policing would become a ‘blue light response service only’ – and we are now sadly one significant step closer to that model.
“We have for so many years been providing a Rolls Royce service with a budget designed to maintain a Ford Mondeo which has always been a matter of pride for us. But the time has finally arrived when that service now has to better align with the budget, so things will have to change.
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“People are at the heart of the service we provide and those people are going to be faced with some very difficult decisions about their futures as a result of the force’s announcements which is very sad, and our hearts go out to those affected.
“Some ‘traditional’ policing roles will now cease and some officers will be lost from the streets.
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“Public access to police stations will be reduced, not for the first time in the last few years. It all adds up, so to speak, to the financial pressures placed upon us by government.
“Our greatest fear though is a loss of ground level community contact. For it is here that we learn about the people we live amongst and pick up the information that can be developed to fight crime and reduce the risks to us all in today’s changed world.
“No matter what spin a politician may care to put on it, if we are not walking and talking, we aren’t listening carefully enough.
“An ever-increasing demand upon the constabulary comes from the result of a lack of community resources, especially so ‘out of hours’ when those who need help from their usual support networks cannot access it.
“That in itself has to change for the benefit of everyone as those networks and services are also under pressure to reduce costs.
“Simply put, we will have to work together right around the clock for the benefit of everyone.