HOME Secretary Theresa May has praised Suffolk Police’s efforts to cut costs while maintaining frontline services.
Mrs May visited Bury St Edmunds last Tuesday at the invitation of MP David Ruffley.
During the visit she praised the force’s plans for greater collaboration with Norfolk police.
She said: “What I have seen here is a shining example of two forces working together to deliver savings and improved services.
“It shows how police forces can save money while enabling officers to spend more time on the streets.”
Mrs May was given a tour of the town’s state-of-the-art Police Investigation Centre which opened last July.
She said: “It’s excellent – a very good example of how an innovative approach can lead to improved services.
“There have been several Police Investigation Centres modelled in the same way which allows further collaboration and makes it easier for officers to move between them.”
Suffolk Police recently turned down a Government grant offered in return for freezing Council Tax, instead opting to increase its share of the tax by 3.75 per cent ‘to protect services in future years’.
When asked about this Mrs May said: “The Government wanted to help and has made police forces an offer but it’s a local decision for police authorities to decide what is best for the needs of their force.”
Joanna Spicer, chairman of the Suffolk Police Authority, said: “We are doing so much in Suffolk to effectively deal with criminals when they are arrested, prevent crime and make the town a safer place.
“It’s good to be able to tell the Home Secretary about this.”
Mrs May is the first serving Home Secretary to visit the town in 50 years.
During her visit she spoke to police officers of all ranks about their concerns, which included the rise in alcohol-related crime.
She said this was something the Home Office was trying to combat by making it easier for police to shut down venues where problems frequently occur.
She added that her department was looking at methods to reduce bureaucracy to allow officers to spend more time on the street.
Mrs May ended her visit to the town by making a speech at the annual dinner of Bury Conservative Association.