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Could Cambridgeshire lose its PCSOs?

By Adrian Curtis

Jason Ablewhite Police and Crime Commisioner at Huntingdon Police HQ. Picture: Keith Heppell
Jason Ablewhite Police and Crime Commisioner at Huntingdon Police HQ. Picture: Keith Heppell

Decision time in a matter of weeks on 150 PCSOs

The future of Cambridgeshire’s police community support officers (PCSOs) is set to be decided within weeks.

A review into the future format of the county’s local policing is now in its final phase and a decision on the use of PCSOs will be announced as part of a new structure.

Cambridgeshire has 150 PCSOs within its ranks but the review could recommend altering this approach along with dispensing with a tier of senior management and the recruitment of more full-time police officers.

The cost of employing a PCSO is only marginally cheaper than hiring a fully-trained officer. However, PCSOs do not have the same powers as a police officer and following Norfolk constabulary’s decision to cut 150 PCSOs, Cambridgeshire could follow suit.

The review has been carried out jointly by Cambridgeshire chief constable Alec Wood and police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite. They are investigating major changes to the way the constabulary will work over the next five years.

Mr Ablewhite said: “In recent years we have seen increasing demand in calls for service, a shift in crime types, an increased demand in non-crime related issues and increased focus on supporting vulnerable people. The current policing model is no longer sustainable and therefore the constabulary has undertaken a review of local policing to consider options for the future.

The purpose of this review is to create a policing model for the next three to five years that will enable the constabulary to manage demand and make the most effective and efficient use of resources. The focus remains on protecting the most vulnerable, reducing crime and attacking criminality.

“They are in the final stages of the review and therefore no decisions have been made in relation to what that model will look like. This will be considered by chief officers over the coming weeks.”


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