SUFFOLK’S POLICE Chief has outlined how the force will cut its budget by £13.6 million over the next four years.
Chief Constable Simon Ash said that there would be around 300 job cuts to the force, approximately 100 of them front-line police officers.
He explained the Suffolk police budget, which currently stands at around £130 million, would be reduced through working more closely and merging departments, such as human resources and IT, with the Norfolk constabulary and by pooling resources in major investigations.
Further savings would be made by modifying existing fire stations to accommodate police officers as pilotted successfully in Framlingham.
Mr Ash said: “What we are desperate to try and do is preserve the number of constables and PCSO’s in neighbourhoods because they are the face of policing to the public.
“The more money we can save in buildings, our estate and support departments, the more people we can employ on the front line.”
Mr Ash said that the force was dealing with a 20 percent cut in government funding.
MP David Ruffley, who formally served as shadow minister for policing, said the cuts were a necessary part of tackling the country’s huge deficit.
He said: “The cuts are there for one very simple reason, the borrowing deficit - we as a nation are carrying the biggest deficit we have ever had in peace time.
“This means every department and every public service, apart from the health service, has to find savings.
“It would have been a lot harder if we had not had a Chief Constable and a Police Authority who had the foresight to start working together with Norfolk police to share services.
“The savings would have been worse if these collaborations had not been started a couple of years ago.”