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Norfolk police chief warns officer numbers would have to be cut to cover pay rise

PUBLISHED: 08:21 14 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:43 14 September 2017

Chief Constable Simon Bailey at Norfolk Constabulary Headquarters, Wymondham. Photo : Steve Adams

Chief Constable Simon Bailey at Norfolk Constabulary Headquarters, Wymondham. Photo : Steve Adams

Copyright Archant Norfolk 2015

Police numbers in Norfolk will have to be cut so officers can be paid more, the county’s chief constable has warned.

Simon Bailey issued the stark warning after Downing Street announced police officers will receive a 1pc one-off bonus on top of their basic pay rise of 1pc.

Norfolk had budgeted for the 1pc increase but not the bonus, which creates a £620,000 black hole in a force which already needs to save £9m by 2020.

And, with the government not providing extra cash, Mr Bailey said he would be forced to look to cut officers - at a time when calls to the force are up and cases such as domestic violence are increasingly complex.

Mr Bailey said: “I welcome the fact that the hard work and the policing challenges which have arisen have been recognised.

“However, it’s a double edged sword. It means within this financial year I will have to find a further £360,000 of savings and in the financial year 2018/19 a further £260,000.”

“The end result is that this will inevitably lead to a further reduction in the number of uniformed staff and officers I can employ and a further squeezing of already overstretched resources.”

Mr Bailey said £16m had already been saved by sharing services with Suffolk and £14m cut in Norfolk.

He said other police staff also deserved financial recognition, but without extra money, that would further increase his deficit.

Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South, said: “It’s right and proper that our fantastic police officers, who keep the city and county safe, are properly paid and I welcome the pay rise. But it shouldn’t come at the cost of the critical community asset.

“The blame has to be squarely with the government and their austerity policies and the real time cuts to police funding.

“We should be able to pay police officers and PCSOs.”

Norfolk police and crime commissioner Lorne Green said he was exploring more regionwide collaboration, but “the pips are being squeezed”.

He said: “What’s Westminster going to contribute to this? I have been and will continue to be in consultation with important ministers in London.”

The Home Office said overall police spending has been protected in real terms since 2015 and further efficiencies could be made.

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