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More than 450 Norfolk and Suffolk police officers to join London cuts protest march

PUBLISHED: 13:34 07 May 2012

Paul Ridgway, chairman of Norfolk Police Federation.

Paul Ridgway, chairman of Norfolk Police Federation.

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Hundreds of rank and file police from Norfolk will head to London this week to protest against what they warn will be damaging cuts to the service.

More than 300 off-duty officers will join Thursday’s march, which has been organised by the Police Federation, to form part of an estimated 20,000-strong protest.

The march, which will pass the Home Office, Parliament Square and Downing Street, is a reaction to cuts to police budgets and what the federation describes as an “attack” on pensions and pay.

The changes were recommended by independent reviewer Tom Winsor.

The march is the strongest demonstration of anger available to the police, who, as crown servants, are not legally allowed to strike. Those taking part will be off-duty on Thursday.

Paul Ridgway, chairman of Norfolk Police Federation, said: “Our officers feel a desperation that this government is being disrespectful towards the police service and the communities we serve.

“What the government is doing can only result in a lesser service being provided to the public because common sense says ‘you only get less for less’.

“It is the final straw for our members as they see increases in pensions along with the disgraceful recommendations to pay and conditions in the two Winsor Reports.

“The fact that nearly a quarter of our front line officer strength are attending the demonstration, along with family members, retired officers and members of police staff, should clearly highlight to the home secretary Theresa May that anger and resentment at all levels is rising.”

More than 150 off-duty police officers from Suffolk will also take part.

Matt Gould, chair of Suffolk Police Federation said the reality of the cuts to policing was “really beginning to bite”.

He said: “The government need to be realistic about the outcome of severe cuts to policing; we cannot afford to compromise on public safety.”

dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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