Union bosses fear 200 civilian police jobs could be lost from Norfolk to Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 08:34 27 February 2014 | UPDATED: 08:34 27 February 2014

A “devastating” proposal to shift back-office police staff from Wymondham to Suffolk could cost 200 Norfolk jobs, union bosses fear.

Norfolk police chiefs hope to save £2.5m per year by basing 400 Norfolk and Suffolk civilian support staff at a single location in Suffolk.

These staff work in human resources, finance, ICT, procurement, estates and transport roles, and the exact current split of the 400 jobs between the two counties is not known.

Caren Reeves, Unison police branch secretary, said: “This devastating proposal will result in a massive loss of skills to Norfolk police and will have a major impact on the local economy.

“Many people relocated to Wymondham and the surrounding villages when the police moved there.

“Their children go to school in the Wymondham area. They spend their earnings in the local shops and now they are being told we don’t want you...

“Cuts to police funding are resulting in decisions being made on the basis of cost alone and this is no way to run a police service. The public may think that it doesn’t matter where these jobs are located, but cut after cut is ruining our public services and ruining the lives of those who provide them.”

In a statement released on Monday, a police spokesman said: “Both chief constables support the principle of looking to provide Constabulary employment opportunities in both counties.”

A separate proposal to merge the police 999 call centre in Suffolk with the one in Wymondham has also been tabled.

There are currently 170 police call-handling staff in Norfolk and 134 in Suffolk.

Police chiefs said they did not know how many jobs would be lost if a single super centre were set up at Wymondham, but the move would save £1.8m per year.

Both proposals will go before today’s collaboration panel meeting, which will be attended by Suffolk police and crime commissioner (PCC) Tim Passmore and his Norfolk counterpart Stephen Bett.

A Norfolk Constabulary spokesman said: “While speculation around the proposal is inevitable, no decisions have yet been made and it is too early to confirm how many people could be affected. We appreciate that this is an unsettling time for all staff and we will be working to keep them informed and supported.”

The two proposals are designed to help meet a combined £36.7m of savings needed by the two forces by March 2018 – £20.3m for Norfolk police and £16.4m for Suffolk.

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