Figures don’t stack up, warns Suffolk police boss after crunch talks

Launch of Elmswell Fire and Police Station.

Pictured: Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk
Launch of Elmswell Fire and Police Station. Pictured: Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk

image: suffolk constabulary

Tim Passmore met Nick Hurd, Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service, last week to discuss the funding challenges the force faces.

Mr Passmore said: “There are times in life when democratically elected leaders face extremely difficult decisions on behalf of their constituents and, as Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, I am in such a situation.

“I am not seeking to be alarmist but the ability of Suffolk Constabulary to deliver an effective service, keeping communities safe and maintain public confidence is in serious jeopardy.

“This is due largely to financial pressure caused by the current Home Office funding regime, which, for years, has had an in-built bias against large rural counties like Suffolk.”

In setting out the challenges, Mr Passmore, supported by Deputy Chief Constable Steve Jupp, talked about the significantly higher workload of police officers in Suffolk, which is the highest in the country – 150 cases per year per officer compared to 132 cases per year in Norfolk and 122 in the West Midlands.

They also stressed that if Suffolk received the same Home Office funding as Norfolk on a pro rata basis, it would get £3.5 million more, which would be a significant increase to the current total budget which is £121.8 million.

Mr Passmore said: “I firmly believe Suffolk should get a more equitable settlement, which reflects the challenges our county faces.

“Suffolk is home to one of the largest container ports in Europe, has a coast line of over 60 miles, we have five military establishments including two American air bases and the county is home to a nuclear power station.

“Suffolk does not have a motorway but the A14 is a major route of national importance – my concern is that the Government does not recognise the significance of these crucial strategic national assets.

“To be able to explain this directly to the minister was extremely useful, I just hope it will make a difference.”

Mr Hurd said: “This meeting will help inform the wider programme of engagement I am leading with PCCs and police forces across the country on the changing nature of demand on police resources, the impact of that change and managing this as efficiently as possible.

“I look forward to working with Suffolk police as this work continues.”