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Pressure on Suffolk Constabulary revealed in latest Police Federation data

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Suffolk’s police are overstretched as a result of the government’s ‘lack of respect’, a detective has said.

Latest Police Federation data shows 87 per cent of local officers responding to a survey said they are ‘often’ or ‘always’ in a single crew.

Figures in last week’s UK-wide welfare report showed Suffolk Constabulary officers face greater pressure than average, while 93 per cent said there are not enough officers to do the job properly and 91 per cent considered there to be low morale in the ranks.

Police (7385960)
Police (7385960)

Mark Emsden, general secretary of Suffolk Police Federation, who has 16 years’ experience in the force as a detective and front-line officer, said: “It all comes down to the way the government is treating policing with a lack of respect.

“Suffolk is a a good place to work and by no means the worst. But it comes as no surprise to hear the 93 per cent figure, you only have to look at what is in front of us. There is a higher demand than ever. And we have 200 fewer officers than in 2010.”

More than half (57 per cent) of the 205 Suffolk respondents – a sample representing 19 per cent of the force – said they were neglecting some tasks because of time pressure.

The 2016 figure was 43 per cent, and shows the rise in demand as police battle changing crime types.

“It’s not an issue just at night given officers are putting themselves in danger at all times. Cops are more vulnerable now then ever," Mark Emsden

Mr Emsden added: “There is more cybercrime, fewer armed robberies, but we have seen a massive rise in knife crime. That is very scary when I see the number of victims and the attitude of those committing these crimes. There needs to be a difficult discussion with the public about what they can expect from the police – we try and do what we can, but it’s impossible to cover everything.”

Federation vice-chairman Che Donald said the figures should represent a ‘huge red flag’ for the government and raised particular concern over the number of officers working alone.

Mr Emsden said: “It’s not a new thing to have them on their own. There is a policy that officers on night shifts will, where possible, work in pairs.

“It’s not an issue just at night given officers are putting themselves in danger at all times. Cops are more vulnerable now then ever.

“There is not much for officers to be excited about at the moment. They are having to work incredibly hard, they are putting themselves in danger and are being criticised more than ever.”

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “Suffolk officers currently deal with the highest case load per officer but we receive one of the lowest funding settlements. This imbalance must be addressed as Suffolk Constabulary does not get its fair share of police funding and I will continue to lobby the Government for this.”

He added: “It is really important that our officers and staff, who give so much to support the needs of the citizens they serve, know they have our support when they need it most.”