Police confirm dramatic cuts in PCSO numbers

The first 30 of 50 new neighbourhood police officers that were recruited last year were pictured in September 2019 with...

The first 30 of 50 new neighbourhood police officers that were recruited last year were pictured in September 2019 with chief constable Nick Dean. He had pledged to increase neighbourhood policing in Cambridgeshire. - Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

Only minor changes were made by chief constable Nick Dean following a month-long consultation with staff over cuts that include halving to 40 the number of PCSOs in his Cambridgeshire force.  

He said that 13 alternative proposals were submitted across all three teams of staff affected.   

“These were all reviewed in detail, alongside feedback from key stakeholders, partner agencies, members of the public and Unison,” he said.  

But it remains that PCSO numbers will be dropped from 80 to 40 although in Fenland there will be some “rebalancing of PCSOs in line with local demand”. 

Mr Dean also said the number of enquiry officer posts would be 13 instead of the proposed 11. 

"It is with great regret that these decisions have been taken, but this is financially driven and we are simply unable to balance our books any other way,” he said. 

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"I am grateful to all those who took the time to submit alternative proposals - they have all been considered carefully and some changes to the original proposals have been made, however, the need remains to continue to deliver neighbourhood policing services within the financial constraints we face." 

The force is still awaiting the specific funding settlement details of the Government Spending review later this week. 

The spokesperson explained that the force will continue to receive the ring-fenced funding from Government to deliver its contribution to the 20,000-uplift programme across the country.  

“62 of those officers are already in force and a further 62 anticipated in 2021/22, and 82 in 2022/23 (subject to confirmation), ” said the spokesperson. 

The chief constable added: “We are working hard to ensure those who wish to remain in the organisation are able to do so, either as a police officer or in a suitable alternative role. 

“We are committed to delivering quality policing to our neighbourhoods; however, we know this will be in a different way to how we have delivered it in the past, due to the financial challenges. 

"This is never a decision any organisational leader wants to make, but with public sector finances as fragile as they are, and are unlikely to change, there is no other choice."