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Police cutbacks defended

PUBLISHED: 11:52 12 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:41 03 July 2010

POLICE chiefs have denied the thin blue line is getting thinner in Suffolk after new figures revealed it was the only force in East Anglia to cut officer numbers last year.

POLICE chiefs have denied the thin blue line is getting thinner in Suffolk after new figures revealed it was the only force in East Anglia to cut officer numbers last year.

Cash-strapped Suffolk Constabulary said a “challenging financial backdrop” led to 28 police officer posts being lost in the last year.

This is compared to Norfolk, which employed 91 new officers and Essex, which has an additional 100 officers. Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire have also added to their forces.

According to Suffolk's deputy chief constable, Jacqui Cheer, the majority of these 28 police officer posts have been filled by civilian staff, which is “more cost-effective”.

“It means fewer officers behind desks, greater visible police presence on our streets and freeing up officers to take jobs that make best use of their skills and training,” she added.

Matt Gould, chairman of the Suffolk Police Federation, said: “We had an exceptionally low grant from the Home Office and that is reflected in this move.”

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