Cutting Suffolk’s police community support officers risks public safety, says UNISON

Plans announced today (Tuesday) to axe more than half of Suffolk’s police community support officers (PCSOs) would put public safety at risk, says UNISON.

The proposed cuts by Suffolk Constabulary would see a 78% reduction in the number of PCSOs in the county since 2010, says the union*.

UNISON national officer for police and justice Ben Priestley said: “Cutting frontline PCSOs is short-sighted and reckless.

“PCSOs are not only a reassuring, visible presence in communities, they also gather vital intelligence that prevents crime and protects the public.

“Axing PCSOs means the work they do to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour will either stop altogether, or land on the lap of already overburdened officers and staff.

“Today’s announcement is a desperate response to government cuts, which have had a devastating impact on police budgets. These cutbacks are creating a safe haven for criminals and a growing sense of fear and insecurity in communities.

“Suffolk Constabulary needs to urgently reverse this ill-thought-out decision, which would damage the police force and local communities.”

Notes to editors:
* Suffolk Constabulary is planning to reduce the number of PCSO posts to 48 (this is down from 107 posts in 2016 and 173 in 2010). However, it’s likely that only 38 PCSOs will be retained due to the lack of funding for the match-funded positions (these are posts that rely on partners allocating money).
– Between March 2010 and September 2017 there was a 40% reduction in PCSOs across England and Wales. However, this figure doesn’t yet include the staff cuts at the Norfolk Police Constabulary, which on 1 April 2018 cut all its PCSOs.

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