UNISON report says five more years of a Conservative government would sound the death knell of community policing

PCSOMore than 1,000 police community support officer (PCSO) jobs in England have been cut every year since 2010, leaving the public with little or no reassurance over safety, according to a new UNISON report.

The report – More trouble in the neighbourhood – shows there has been a 27% reduction in the number of PCSOs in England, with 4,430 jobs being cut since 2010.

As PCSOs make up 75% of the neighbourhood policing teams that keep communities safe, such drastic cuts have had a huge impact on the ability of police forces across England to patrol our streets, says UNISON.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “People feel safer when there is a visible and reassuring police presence on the beat.

“But four years of savage cuts to PCSOs mean that one in four police patrols have been withdrawn from our neighbourhoods since 2010. If the Conservatives are returned to power the harsh police spending cuts they are proposing would see many more PCSOs cut.

“This government has shown no interest in protecting frontline police despite its promises to do. Ministers’ obsession with cuts is now placing the public at greater risk. With fewer PCSOs, vital evidence and intelligence gathering will be lost and fewer crimes solved.

“Five more years of a Conservative government would sound the death knell for neighbourhood policing – upon which so many people rely.

“We are repeating our on call on Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to investigate the impact of these cuts on the quality of the service.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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