UNISON warns of risk to community policing as cuts bite in Suffolk

Cuts over the last few years mean that community policy in Suffolk is in danger, warns UNISON, launching campaign to defend the service

A £20.5m cut in the funding Suffolk Constabulary receives from central government will result in the closure of police stations and the disappearance of Police and Community Support Officers (PCSOs) from the streets of towns and villages across the county, says UNISON today.

Despite the Chancellor’s announcement last week that police budgets would not be cut further, hundreds of support staff are now at risk of redundancy, as a result of cuts imposed in previous years.

Secretary of Suffolk police branch Mark Trask said: “These cuts will see the number of PCSOs patrolling the streets reduced from 166 to 98, and 15 police stations closed – leaving just three in the entire county.

“In addition to the cut in the number of PCSOs, another 300 police staff – many of whom provide vital support functions to operational policing – are at risk of redundancy.

“This is a real blow to staff who are understandably anxious at the thought of losing their jobs. But the real impact will be felt by the community as the public face of policing in the county is radically reduced.”

PCSOs help reduce anti-social behaviour, gather intelligence, provide a visible police presence and provide reassurance to the public. UNISON believes that the reduction in the number of officers on the streets and the closure of police stations has gone too far.

UNISON’s Suffolk Police branch has launched a campaign calling on the government to reverse the cuts and give the constabulary the funding it needs to provide a police service that is able to keep the county’s communities safe.

As part of the campaign, the branch has produced a YouTube video – The Threat to Community Policing – highlighting the impact of government spending cuts on community policing.

UNISON is also asking people to write to their MPs about cuts to local policing, sign its petition and support its campaign on Twitter.

You can find more information, plus the video, at www.suffolkpoliceunison.simplesite.com.