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Calls from Norfolk for government to do U-Turn on police cuts

PUBLISHED: 06:27 12 August 2011

The head of an organisation looking after the interests of police officers in Norfolk has added his voice to renewed calls for the government to reverse its decision to make cuts to forces in light of the riots sweeping across the country.

Opposition calls for David Cameron to abandon the coalition’s plans for substantial cuts to the police, which follow four nights of unrest in London and elsewhere in the UK, have received support from the Norfolk Police Federation.

Paul Ridgway, chairman, said: “Following the incidents of this week its clear cut to us that what we’ve been saying for the past six months in relation to officer and public safety is now paramount.

“Our message is its not too late and now is the time to re-evaluate the cuts that they are making. There’s growing pressure not only from the MPs in opposition but also from their own MPs and mayor of London Boris Johnson and the public. We will continue the fight and believe that by cutting funding to police forces, especially in Norfolk which has had a double whammy of £19.5m followed by a further 20pc, that where incidents like this occur in the future, it may cause issues for future chief constables to provide the same amount of cover both in the county and in terms of mutual aid agreement.”

He added: “The idea put forward by the prime minister that the amount of officers being used across the country or nationwide at the moment could be maintained from releasing non-operational officers is ludicrous. In the short term this could be achieved but cannot be achieved over a long period.”

The cuts means Norfolk has to reduce its officer numbers by up to 350, as well as losing 60 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and 230 civilian staff.

A police spokesman said: “Norfolk Constabulary will endeavour to work within available resources to deliver a level of policing services that protects people from harm.”

“Only recently we have received praise from Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary for the way we are working with colleagues in Suffolk to use our combined resources more effectively and efficiently whilst making savings.”

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