Police commissioner ‘in waiting’ urges chief constable to halt PCSO and enquiry office cuts until May election

Darryl Preston, elected by the Conservative Party to be their candidate for Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

Darryl Preston, elected by the Conservative Party to be their candidate for Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner. Mr Preston wants chief constable Nick Dean to halt proposed cuts until after the May 2021 election. Picture by Terry Harris. - Credit: © Terry Harris

Ex-cop Darryl Preston – whose bid to become police and crime commissioner (PCC) for Cambridgeshire was delayed by the pandemic – has called for chief constable Nick Dean to halt proposed cuts to PCSO numbers.

Mr Preston also wants a halt to the closure threat to nine pubic enquiry offices until he, hopefully, wins next May’s election.

Mr Preston won the Conservative nomination for PCC following the departure of Jason Ablewhite and ahead of the former deputy, now acting PCC, Ray Bisby.

Ironically, Mr Bisby had indirectly supported Mr Dean, putting the package of cuts announced by the chief constable down to inadequate funding for Cambridgeshire police.

But in an open letter to the chief constable, Mr Preston wants the changes postponed until after the May 2021 election.

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“This will enable an elected representative of the residents of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to scrutinise this decision on their behalf,” says Mr Preston.

It would ensure the public “are in receipt of an effective and efficient police service meeting their needs”.

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The Tory PCC candidate says having spoken with many residents across our county “I am repeatedly informed that their policing priority is more visibility of, and access to the police”.

Mr Preston says the people of Cambridgeshire have high regard for their local policing teams.

He tells Mr Dean: “I am therefore grateful that you acknowledge the importance of local policing and the pledge to boost police officer numbers in the local teams to 132, an increase of 75 since 2018.

“However, I have been contacted by many residents who have serious concerns regarding the cuts to PCSO numbers, the closure of enquiry offices and the removal of the community safety team.”

Mr Preston tells the chief constable: “While I fully understand it is your legal responsibility to balance the books, residents are concerned that the services these posts provided will no longer be available.

“For example, I recognise that footfall may be low in some police station enquiry offices, but can we be assured that all our residents in those areas affected will be able to access the police, particularly the vulnerable and elderly”

“I would therefore request that the proposed changes you have announced be postponed until following the police and crime commissioner elections in May 2021.”

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