Suffolk police chief makes pledge over service

Suffolk's top police officer has issued a new-year message to people in the county – pledging front-line services will not be affected by stringent budget cuts due to hit his force over the next four years.

Chief constable Simon Ash said cutting crime and tackling anti- social behaviour remained the top priorities for Suffolk police and, in Lowestoft and Waveney, detectives would be continuing to target the persistent burglars who brought misery to their victims.

Reassuring people of Suffolk that front-line officers would be spared the worst of the cuts, Mr Ash said: 'The commitment I have made is that I am going to do all I can to retain the number of constables, community support officers and safer neighbourhood teams.

'They are the most visible front-line of policing – these officers and staff are what the public interact with.

'People need to be aware of the financial challenges we are facing, but I want people to know we have got a good plan that will navigate us through these difficult times.

'We will do all we can to keep Suffolk the safe county you enjoy.'

Looking back on the achievements of his force over the last 12 months, Mr Ash said: 'The level of crime in Suffolk is at the lowest it has been in a decade and the most recent survey carried out showed over 93pc of people in the county feel safe in the areas where they live – that's a massive tribute to the way the local officers are policing these communities.

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'We are still seeing crime go down in the county, and as crime continues to fall that is a tribute to the really hard working, dedicated officers and staff we have.

'But we are facing a massive challenge of having to cut over �13.5m from our budget over the next four years.

'We have a plan to achieve this, but it's going to be a big challenge and what we are seeking to do is preserve our ability to fight crime and still address the things that really matter to you.'

mark.boggis@archant.co.uk

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