Drop in numbers could have been worse says police boss Alston

Politics / Mon 28th Apr 2014 at 04:39pm

The Tory Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, Nick Alston has defended the fall in PCSO numbers in Essex. Mr Alston said:

“I am committed to local policing. I have met many of our PCSOs and found them impressive, professional and highly knowledgeable about their local areas. They perform important work in our communities, and I am grateful for everything they do. I am clear that PCSOs are a vital part of local policing across Essex and I remain completely committed to PCSOs as key members of our community policing teams.

“There has been a reduction in PCSO numbers in our county, but that reduction would have been even greater had I not acted to support funding for policing through modest rises in council tax. However, with less resource available, the policing model will have to be different. Around 85 per cent of the budget for policing and community safety consists of the salaries of police officers, PCSOs and police staff.

“Since I became PCC, no PCSOs have been made redundant and I hope that won’t happen. Indeed, I am pleased that many PCSOs have now been able to train as police officers, continuing to use the experience they gained as PCSOs in their new roles. The sickness rates have recently reduced very significantly which is also good.

“The Chief Constable has to complete the Evolve analytical work before we will know how many PCSOs our county can afford and where they will be deployed. The government allowing Chief Constables to give more powers to PCSOs is also helpful.

“I am delighted some councils have decided to fund PCSOs; it allows communities to really invest in what they regard a key local priority.

“I will do all I can to drive further efficiency to free resources for the front line, but I will also ensure we invest in the future.

“We will have fewer PCSOs as we are also likely to have fewer officers, staff and even police stations. But crime has continued to fall through all the recent changes and I am confident the Chief Constable and his officers, PCSOs and police staff will do all they can to continue to deliver professional policing to all of us in Essex.”

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