Norfolk Police Federation chairman’s anger at cuts

The chairman of an organisation which represents rank and file police officers in Norfolk has indicated their anger at cuts and the reform of the service is aimed the government and not at the way this county is policed.

Hundreds of off-duty police officers from Norfolk joined an estimated 35,000 colleagues from the rest of the country, including Suffolk, in London last week to protest at cuts they believe will damage the service irreparably.

Some who attended the march told the EDP they were opposed to the introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), which will replace police authorities in November, and claimed that the cuts were affecting morale.

But Paul Ridgway, chairman of the Norfolk Police Federation, said the national discontent among officers, which continued this week when home secretary Theresa May was heckled at the Police Federation annual conference in Bournemouth, did not reflect the local picture.

He said: 'The event was a highly emotive occasion and gave rank and file officers opportunity to deliver a strong message to the government that it is inevitable that the budget cuts will impact on day to day services in various policing areas.

'It is a great shame that these cuts have come at a time that would otherwise have seen morale high in the force due to the positive steps the chief officer team has made in relation to shift patterns and the introduction of a new policing model which appears to be beneficial to both the public and officers.

'It is important that we differentiate between the feelings of officers in respect of the government proposals, which is poor, and those concerning local policing matters where morale is generally good. It is really regrettable that the government budget cuts are frustrating professional and dedicated officers carrying out their day to day duties.'

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Chief Constable Phil Gormley's letter, see Page 34.