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24 February 2014, 17:09
Jobs could go at Norfolk and Suffolk police as they look to merge some of their services.
The plans being considered included merging the Norfolk and Suffolk Police control rooms, which take emergency calls. Those jobs would move to Norfolk affecting close to 400 people.
The HR, IT and finance departments could also be shared. They would be based in Suffolk affect another 400 people.
Heart's been told 70 jobs could be at risk, but Norfolk and Suffolk Police say they have no figure on how many jobs could be lost.
It's all because of big cut to the amount the forces are getting from government, they've got to find £37 million in savings in the next four years.
Temporary Joint Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Hamlin told Heart sharing services is a way of making sure they don't have to cut the number of police on the streets.
A decision on whether to go ahead with this plan could be made as soon as Thursday when the Police and Crime Commmsioners and Chief Constables meet.
The Police Federations representatives in Norfolk, Paul Ridgway, and in Suffolk, Matt Gould, gave Heart a joint statement on the proposals:
"Police officers and staff in Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies continue to rise admirably to the challenges they face and we are sure that the public will see little or no difference to service, if the changes being proposed are introduced. It is clear however, that the severity of cuts to the police service has negatively impacted on officer and staff morale. We have liaised with our seperate Police and Crime Commissioners and local MP’s to be mindful of the strain with which officers and staff are facing.
"We believe that if the Government continue with the planned cuts as announced, there will become a time in the near future when both Forces will reach crisis point and it is then that the public will see an irretrievable change to the Police service they currently experience across the two Forces.
"We are grateful for the excellent service our civilian staff colleagues provide and each time a back-office function is removed, we recognise the effect it has on staff and their families to have their job be put at risk. However, it also places greater strain on officers on the front line to complete the tasks these staff did and this can only mean less time on the streets to deal with the requirements of the public. We have provided evidence to local MP's and HMIC that although crime is falling, the nature of crime is changing and in our opinion, this actually results in a need to increase officer numbers. We urge the Government to rethink the level of the cuts proposed and to stop the diluting of service that Policing can provide."