Suffolk police staff job fears ahead of cost-cutting briefings

Concerns for police staff over jobs

Concerns for police staff over jobs - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of Suffolk Constabulary civilian staff face an anxious wait this week to discover the impact of a multi-million pound cost-cutting programme.

A series of briefings will be held over the next few days with nearly 950 full and part-time workers. These include police community support officers.

Announcements are expected to be made over the axeing of some posts and a possible redefining of others.

Police officers will also told how the restructuring of the service the constabulary offers will affect them.

Details of a long-running local policing review are due to be briefed out.

Unlike civilian staff, police officers can not be made redundant.

However, their numbers have been cut by 11% over an 18-month period from 1,221 full-time equivalents on March 31, 2014, to 1,090 (FTEs) by the end of October this year.

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This has been achieved through retirements, natural wastage and a recruitment freeze.

It is an accepted figure that the average cost for a police officer is around £50,000 a year.

The constabulary has been forced down this path as it must still save £20.5million by 2020 due to its Government grant being slashed.

Although chancellor George Osborne announced their would be no further cuts in last week’s spending review this did not affect the amount of money which already needed to be saved.

It is understood around £10m of savings had already been identified previously and that the local policing review could save around another £5m.

Although Suffolk Constabulary has yet to reveal any details of the cost-savings it will inform staff and officers of this week one of the areas of concern is around the role of Police Community Support Officers, given what has happened elsewhere.

Essex Police has announced plans to cut PCSOs from 258 to 60, Bedfordshire is decreasing its numbers from 108 to 46, Norfolk is losing 50 PCSOs by 2017, and Nottinghamshire is cutting 72 posts in 2015. There are currently around 160 PCSO posts within Suffolk Constabulary.

This, and the deployment of resources in the local policing review, could also have an impact on the number of Safer Neighbourhood Teams around the county.

Sources have said the civilian workforce in particular is looking ahead to this week with a degree of trepidation over the outcome of the announcements.

Various departments are due to be informed of the impact upon them in a rolling series of briefings taking place over a number of days.

Apart from jobs being in jeopardy other concerns include the possible changing of work locations, shift patterns altering, and additional payments which are currently made being stopped or decreased.

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