Proposals to axe all Norfolk’s police community support officers (PCSOs) and close police stations open to the public would leave the county’s residents at increased risk of becoming the victims of crime, warns UNISON today (Thursday).
UNISON – the union that represents PCSOs across Norfolk – says the plans would also mean already stretched officers and staff become overburdened with extra work.
Changes to the way policing is delivered, announced by Norfolk’s chief constable Simon Bailey, could see all the area’s PCSOs lose their jobs, and the public no longer able to access seven police stations across the county to seek help or report crimes.
Commenting on the proposals, UNISON Eastern regional secretary Chris Jenkinson said: “Criminals and those who seek to harm the public will be the only ones celebrating today. PCSOs don’t just wander around the county in uniform to reassure the public, they also do valuable work that helps keep everyone safe.
“If the Norfolk Constabulary goes ahead and gets rid of its PCSOs, the work they currently do tackling low-level crime and anti-social behaviour will either stop altogether, or fall to already hard-pressed police officers and staff to deal with.
“But the true villain of the piece here is the government, which has ruthlessly slashed police budgets, so forces have had to do more with less. It’s no coincidence that as PCSO jobs have disappeared across the UK, crime rates have soared.
“We’ll be doing all we can in the coming days to convince Lorne Green, Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner, and Simon Bailey to abandon these retrograde and dangerous proposals.”
Notes to editors:
– Under the proposals, all the county’s 150 PCSO jobs would disappear. Public enquiry counters at the Dereham, Thetford, Cromer, Downham Market, Fakenham, Hunstanton, and North Walsham police stations would close.
– Chris Jenkinson is available for interview.