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Forces begin cutting PCSOs in the face of budgetary pressures

Northumbria and Lincolnshire have both said this week that they will be reducing the number of PCSO roles in their forces.

Northumbria are cutting their PCSO numbers by almost 70% in the face of ongoing budget pressures and the necessity to make savings.  

It’s one of two forces this week which has announced how it will cut back on PCSO roles in order to balance the books.

The PCC has made the decision to cut the number of roles by 136 (41 of which are already vacant) – leaving 60 remaining.

In total £15m savings need to be made over three years – £2m of which will be covered through the precept.

The Office has further said that there are no planned redundancies and that those impacted will be given the opportunity to change into alternative existing roles within the force.

Meanwhile, backfilling vacant posts across the force with redeployed PCSOs will help contribute to budget reductions.

134 uplift officers will be deployed into neighbourhood policing as part of the ongoing restructure plans.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: "Northumbria Police faces overwhelming cost increases as a result of inflation and other challenges. More than £12m is needed to offset these costs. I have urged the Home Secretary to help us meet the costs but that request has been turned down.

"The problem here is budgets – we simply don’t have the resources to both increase police officer numbers and keep all PCSOs and that’s because Government will not fully fund Northumbria Police.

"In the months ahead we’ll continue restructuring our neighbourhood policing to allow us to get more officers out on the streets preventing and fighting crime.”

Lincolnshire will also be revising their Neighbourhood Policing model – reducing the number of PCSOs while still ensuring every area retains its own Neighbourhood Policing Team.

The force will cut their PCSO establishment from 91 to 50 – but plans to keep a Neighbourhood Policing Team in every area.

Each team will be led by an Inspector, with both Sergeants, Constables as well as Community Beat Managers. The force has recently invested 13 additional Community Beat managers into their model.

The force has said that while there may not be a PCSO dedicated to every neighbourhood team, every area will “retain a PCSO presence” available to help address local issues.

A priority for embedded PCSOs has been assigned to 19 areas of greatest vulnerability.

The force has not given any details on redundancies.

Chief Constable Chris Haward said: “The bedrock and foundation of policing is built from our communities upwards, and this new model means that we have our officers in the areas where they are most needed.

“We have not removed teams from any area but have instead rebalanced in order to deliver a policing model that keeps people safe and protects them from harm. It is also worth remembering that our local teams are not the only officers who are out there in our communities across the county because they work in tandem with other Lincolnshire Police officers and staff from different departments. While on paper their tasking might be different, their goals are universal - to keep people in this county safe.”

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