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Fears for front-line policing in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 13:00 31 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:01 06 July 2010

Emily Dennis

Suffolk police are preparing for a possible £20m cut in their budget over the next four years and are hoping that the Home Office does not force changes which would impact on front-line policing in the county.

Suffolk police are preparing for a possible £20m cut in their budget over the next four years and are hoping that the Home Office does not force changes which would impact on frontline policing in the county.

As public services face a spending squeeze, the police authority, which met yesterday, was presented with three possible scenarios.

Even the best case envisages a £3.164m reduction in money. The authority is working on the assumption that it will have to find £9m in cuts, but officers will also prepare for a £20.315m cut which would be the result of an increase to 5pc in inflation, 2pc pay awards, a 1pc cut in government grants, and a zero rise in the council tax precept.

Philip Clayton, the authority's assistant chief officer, said that it would be near impossible for the county to be effectively policed if massive cuts were imposed. "There would be no quality of policing and no resilience."

The police authority is in the same situation as councils in not knowing what level of financial support will be received from the government in 2010-11. Authority member Colin Spence said: "We are walking a black tunnel blindfolded.

"However, we owe it to the public to prepare for the worst to happen. We have to say we are going to have staff cuts and that it will be difficult to achieve the delivery of services."

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