Policing in Suffolk to be redesigned to meet the challenges of the future

A series of changes to Suffolk Constabulary’s policing model have been agreed, which will help deliver significant savings required by government, whilst improving the efficiency of its services.

All Change For Suffolk (PDF, 1.91MB)

The Constabulary is required to deliver savings of £20.5 million by March 2020.  Alongside this, the demand facing police has changed, so services need to be realigned to the areas posing the greatest threat, harm and risk.

A series of projects are therefore underway to bridge this funding gap and to better respond to today’s challenges.

The Suffolk Local Policing Review (SLPR) is the most significant review of policing in Suffolk for many years and is looking at better ways of structuring resources and delivering key services.

The current phase of the review has looked at the following areas:

–       Neighbourhood policing
–       Community contact
–       Investigations
–       Emergency response
–       Community Safety

A number of changes have now been agreed which will result in the re-design of teams and processes and a reduction in the workforce.

Key changes include:
–       Streamlined processes for the investigation of crime.
–       A redefined remit for Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs) and a reduction in their number from 29 to 18, with a focus on addressing community concerns.
–       Three revised policing areas in the East, West and South.
–       Nine policing ‘locality’ areas, combining emergency response, investigations, SNTs, volunteers and the Special Constabulary.
–       A revised workforce mix removing 68 PCSO posts from the organisation.
–       The closure of a number of police station front counters, leaving three public access points in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft.*The police stations will remain operational.

Extensive demand analysis and consultation with staff, communities and partners has been undertaken to fully inform the re-design, which has been guided by the fundamental aim of protecting communities and enhancing services whilst achieving savings and delivering the Police and Crime Plan.

Work will now be carried out to implement changes necessary for the new policing model to go live from April 2016.  The changes are projected to realise savings of £2.7 million in 2016/17 and £2.3 million in 2017/18.

The savings identified as part of the SLPR will contribute towards £15 million of savings that have been identified to meet the £20.5 million required.  The next stage of the review will contribute towards the remaining £5.5 million.

The Constabulary has also implemented a range of successful collaborative projects with Norfolk Constabulary. These include the creation of a number of joint departments serving both counties.  A number of changes to these departments have been agreed to improve service delivery and to help deliver the savings required. Staff posts have been reviewed and will result in reductions in both organisations in the following areas:

–       Business Support (ICT, Estates & Facilities, Transport Services)
–       Protective Services
–       Justice Services

The changes will achieve savings of approximately £0.42 million in 2016/17 for Suffolk.

A number of staff will be placed ‘at risk’ as a result of the changes being made.  Every effort will be made to redeploy individuals into other posts and will be provided with advice and support throughout the process.

Temporary Chief Constable Gareth Wilson said: “This is a time of unprecedented change for the Constabulary and I am confident that with the skills and professionalism of our teams, we can implement these changes and continue to deliver an excellent policing service.

“It is with much regret that we have had to reduce the size of our workforce, as every member of the organisation plays a valuable role in keeping our communities safe.

“With around 80% of our budget spent on people, however, it has been necessary to reduce our teams. We have looked to create the right mix of warranted officers, PCSOs and volunteers to make sure our neighbourhood teams continue to deliver the community policing we know is so important.

“Whilst some of the changes have been driven by the savings requirement, it has also been essential that we ensure we are providing policing that is right for today and that is equipped to respond to the challenges of the future.  The pattern of crime has changed, but so have the ways in which people contact us and the reasons why they get in touch.  Our re-design has taken all of this into account and created a policing model that suits our communities.

“We will now work with staff, partners and communities to implement the new model and will continue to look for further ways to work with our partners to provide the best possible services to Suffolk.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “As a constabulary Suffolk provides very good value for money for our communities, it is a fantastic organisation with a real can-do attitude. It’s a small and highly effective police force, but because it’s small, the effect of continued budget reductions is felt more harshly.

“We are at the stage now where small reductions to departmental budgets are no longer enough. Despite the Chancellor’s announcement that there will be no further real-term cuts in police budgets over the spending review period, we still have a reducing budget, but as the workload is not reducing, we’ll have to find ways of meeting demand with less resources.

“The pattern of crime is changing, so policing must change too. I am certainly confident that we can do this, and I am working with the temporary Chief Constable to identify the savings required and these changes to local policing are part of this savings plan.

“Whilst this is a challenging time for us, it is also an opportunity to make sure we are making the best of our resources, and crucially, identifying the demand we face and responding in the most appropriate way.  We have had to make some difficult choices but I can assure you these decisions were not made lightly – and have all been made in the best interests of the people of Suffolk.

“All in all, there’s no doubt we will continue to make Suffolk a safer place to live, work, travel and invest.”