Ten per cent drop in police community support officers in region as funding cuts bite

Police community support officer numbers drop as funding cuts bite

Police community support officer numbers drop as funding cuts bite

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Regional Chief Reporter

UNION leaders have warned that cuts to police community support officer (PCSO) numbers could lead to a rise in crime as new figures reveal a ten per cent drop across the region.

According to Unison, 77 front-line PCSO jobs were lost in the North-East and North Yorkshire between March 2010 and September last year.

Cleveland lost the most with numbers down by 35 to 158 officers, North Yorkshire lost 24 to 174, while Durham had 18 fewer, down from 175 to 157.

Northumbria did not lose any officers, keeping 256 PCSOs throughout the three-year period.

The national report, Trouble in the Neighbourhood, showed that there was an overall 22 per cent reduction in the number of PCSOs in England.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “PCSOs are under growing pressure. They tell us how they have to cover larger beats and more of them have to work alone, often leading them to feel vulnerable.

"PSCOs play a key role in intelligence gathering, tackling minor crimes and anti-social behaviour. They are a reassuring and deterring visible presence in our streets and without them crime is likely to rise.”

Cleveland PCC Barry Coppinger said this was an extremely challenging time as Government cuts of 25 per cent in the force budget continued to bite.

He added: “Despite this we continue to develop and improve neighbourhood policing and look to work closely with other blue light services through collaboration projects.”

North Yorkshire Police said it was currently employing 184.9 full-time equivalent PCSOs and hoped to maintain 183 in the future.

Julia Mulligan, police and crime commissioner for North Yorkshire, added: “I and the chief constable recognise the crucial role PCSOs play in keeping our communities safe from harm, which is why we reversed the former police authority’s decision to cut numbers.

“This accounts for the decline from 2010 levels and the subsequent rise to today’s level, which I believe strikes the right balance to meet the needs of our communities and provide value for money.”

Ron Hogg, Durham police and crime commissioner, said that although the report showed the force has lost 18 PCSOs, four had been reassigned to different roles and four vacancies had now been filled.

“The decision to lose ten PCSOs has been taken in response to government funding cuts,” Mr Hogg added.

Comments (5)

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8:00am Mon 28 Apr 14

stevegg says...

Same as police officers - theres just are not enough to go around; with ever increasing demands being placed on the police service but with fewer staff numbers something has to give. We keep being told crime is falling but that is just manipulation of statistics by the government as a way of justyfying cuts in numbers. Did not the government and chief constables say that front line police officers wouldnt be affected by cuts? Cant believe anything we are told.
Same as police officers - theres just are not enough to go around; with ever increasing demands being placed on the police service but with fewer staff numbers something has to give. We keep being told crime is falling but that is just manipulation of statistics by the government as a way of justyfying cuts in numbers. Did not the government and chief constables say that front line police officers wouldnt be affected by cuts? Cant believe anything we are told. stevegg
  • Score: 8

9:19am Mon 28 Apr 14

reasoned view says...

Perhaps if the police federation officers spent less on their own "entertainment" this would not be an issue?
Perhaps if the police federation officers spent less on their own "entertainment" this would not be an issue? reasoned view
  • Score: 2

10:40am Mon 28 Apr 14

Ron Carter-Bonsteel says...

This Government seems to have given up on wanting to catch criminals so more victims will be targeted murders unsolved. Rapes,Break-ins, Violent crimes etc the less officers we have the more crime we will have.
Look through the Northern Echo and other local newspapers and there has been plenty of VICTIMS with some terrible crimes being committed.
Any Government should make it a priority to keep our towns and cities safe but with these cuts it does not bode well for the future.
This Government seems to have given up on wanting to catch criminals so more victims will be targeted murders unsolved. Rapes,Break-ins, Violent crimes etc the less officers we have the more crime we will have. Look through the Northern Echo and other local newspapers and there has been plenty of VICTIMS with some terrible crimes being committed. Any Government should make it a priority to keep our towns and cities safe but with these cuts it does not bode well for the future. Ron Carter-Bonsteel
  • Score: 1

11:43am Mon 28 Apr 14

David Lacey says...

Crime in the UK is going down. New figures from Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW) released this month by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that there were an estimated 7.5m crimes in 2013 - a 15% drop on 2012 and the lowest number since the survey began in 1981. Independent figures from independent bodies.
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The fall is one of the biggest in the history of the authoritative Crime Survey of England and Wales and was driven by a 22% fall in violent crime, a 25% fall in some types of household theft and a 15% fall in vandalism.
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.So says the Guardian.
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Less crime means less need for police and especially plastic plods who have no power of arrest. These are the facts. But you guys won't accept them.
.
Crime in the UK is going down. New figures from Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW) released this month by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that there were an estimated 7.5m crimes in 2013 - a 15% drop on 2012 and the lowest number since the survey began in 1981. Independent figures from independent bodies. . The fall is one of the biggest in the history of the authoritative Crime Survey of England and Wales and was driven by a 22% fall in violent crime, a 25% fall in some types of household theft and a 15% fall in vandalism. . .So says the Guardian. . Less crime means less need for police and especially plastic plods who have no power of arrest. These are the facts. But you guys won't accept them. . David Lacey
  • Score: -8

1:21pm Mon 28 Apr 14

GeordieB says...

Here's a radical thought...... How about allowing Police Officers to get out on to the streets and enforce the law?

All these people driving desks do nothing to prevent or deter crime.

How many hours are officers forced to waste in pointless 'meetings'?

I don't know of any cop who joined up to spend their working week in meetings, focus groups or taking part in academic exercises.

We should stop expecting our Police to be social engineers and get back to pure law enforcement.
Here's a radical thought...... How about allowing Police Officers to get out on to the streets and enforce the law? All these people driving desks do nothing to prevent or deter crime. How many hours are officers forced to waste in pointless 'meetings'? I don't know of any cop who joined up to spend their working week in meetings, focus groups or taking part in academic exercises. We should stop expecting our Police to be social engineers and get back to pure law enforcement. GeordieB
  • Score: 4

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