Suffolk’s Police and Crime Panel will today discuss plans to lose 124 jobs as part of a £10 million budget cut.
The force last week announced plans that will see the loss of 83 officers, three PCSO and 38 staff over two years and says reductions will be through the natural turnover of staff and re-alignment of posts, and will come from both Suffolk and areas where it collaborates with Norfolk.
But union officials say Suffolk Police is already ‘trimmed to the bone’ and cuts will hit front line policing.
The move follows the second phase of the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review which means Suffolk Police are faced with saving £16.4m by 2018, which is a reduction of 13.2 per cent over four years. Almost £10 million of the savings required have been identified, which will be achieved over the next two years.
A police spokesman said: “This will involve reductions in the establishment and extensive work to increase efficiency by harnessing new technology, strengthening partnerships and undergoing a radical service re-design so that the constabulary can continue to keep people safe.”
Chief Constable Douglas Paxton said: “We are working from a good position, as a strong police force with a history of performing extremely well, but we are already a low cost force, providing good value for money for our communities.”
Tim Passmore, police and crime commissioner, said: “Police forces across the country are having to make difficult decisions as they endeavour to deliver an efficient and effective police service with less funding, Suffolk is no different. I am confident we can create efficiencies.
“We have made a good start on pooling public sector resources in Suffolk, especially in our estate.
“There is considerable scope to expand this work and in other areas such as public access, community safety and blue light integration.”
Suffolk Unison’s Suffolk Police representative Mark Trask said: “The idea that front line policing will be unaffected is rubbish. How can it not be when police jobs are being lost.
“We aren’t blaming the chief constable for these cuts, the fault is with the Coalition Government who clearly do not share our values about the need to invest in police services to ensure a safer society.”
Yvonne Cleary, Unison’s eastern regional organiser, added: “Suffolk Constabulary is already trimmed to the bone with 87 per cent of the budget being on staff costs. Less funds mean less services – it’s as simple as that.”