Norfolk Police confirms plan to cut 350 jobs because of £20 million funding gap

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Plans to cut 350 jobs over the next four years, including a near halving of community support officer numbers, have been confirmed by Norfolk Police.

The proposals, which will go before a meeting of the county’s police and crime panel next week, is designed to plug a £20.3 million funding gap in the force’s budget between now and 2018.

Although there are no specific details of how the plans will affect West Norfolk, police chiefs say that around two-thirds of the job cuts will be made among civilian staff, including the loss of 120 police community support officer (PCSO) posts.

A total of 120 police officer jobs will also be lost, though the force says only 12 will be neighbourhood officer roles.

And there will also be a review of police buildings in the county, with a view to running reduced services in the future.

Chief constable Simon Bailey insisted he had no choice but to make cuts.

He said: “My priority will always be to preserve our capability to provide an effective 24/7 emergency response, prevent and detect crime and protect the public from harm.

“Our plans will safeguard both these core functions and our commitment to neighbourhood policing.

“However, the scale of the deficit is such that this cannot be achieved without further reducing our workforce - including some frontline posts.

“This is the harsh reality but I will be doing everything I can to minimise the impact on both the service we deliver and on my staff.”

He added: “I recognise that some of these recommendations will not be popular.

“Nevertheless, I have to be satisfied that I can meet the public’s basic expectation that when someone in genuine need calls the police in Norfolk that there are sufficient resources available to respond.

“This inevitably means that we will have to scale back some of our non-essential services and continue to challenge inappropriate demands on our time.

“We maintain committed to our close collaboration with Suffolk and to working with partners locally and, most importantly, our local communities to achieve this.”

The force says that the current plans, which are set to be phased in over the next four years, would achieve around three-quarters of the savings that need to be made.