150 Suffolk police join protest in Whitehall

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MORE than 150 off-duty Suffolk police officers were expected to join those from 43 forces protesting in Whitehall yesterday about cuts in policing.

The Police Federation, which organised the march, said: “Police officers are extremely angry about the excessive budget cuts to policing and the way they are being treated by the Government.”

The federation says the police budget has been cut by 20 per cent and officers fear this will result in a poorer service for communities with the loss nationally of 16,000 warranted officers over the next four years.

Matt Gould, chairman of Suffolk Police Federation, said: “The reality of the cuts to policing is really beginning to bite. As a direct result of the 20 per cent budget cut to the Suffolk Constabulary, we have had to freeze recruiting for two years, which is only now beginning to resume, and only then to maintain the number of officers at a level of around 300 below other comparable forces.

“It took 16,000 officers mobilised to London to quell last year’s riots and it’s the same number this Government are reducing the service by – that’s the equivalent of 13 police forces the size of the Suffolk Constabulary disappearing from across the country.

“The Government need to be realistic about the outcome of severe cuts to policing.”

 Yesterday saw members of public service unions come out in protest over pay, conditions and pensions. A protest by 80 prison officers took place outside Highpoint Prison and there were pickets outside West Suffolk College.