Suffolk

Suffolk Police force to cut PCSO roles by a third

Police officer Image copyright PA
Image caption The move is in reaction to the public's desire for more visible policing, Suffolk Police said

More than one third of a Suffolk's police community support officers (PCSOs) are facing redundancy as part of restructuring plans.

Suffolk Police said the plans would see more than 100 police officers move to Safer Neighbourhood Teams - but 33 of the county's 81 PCSOs jobs will go.

It was in reaction to the public's desire for more visible policing.

But Mark Trask, from the union Unison, claimed "you will see less police on the streets" after the move.

Chief Constable Gareth Wilson called local policing "the bedrock of our service" and said the "primary desire" of the public was to see as many officers as possible on the frontline.

He said: "We have had to make some difficult decisions about the composition of our future workforce and the blend of skills and abilities we will require.

"We acknowledge the value of PCSOs and are still committed to them continuing to play a key role within communities."

'We have listened'

The news follows neighbouring force Norfolk Police abolishing all of its PCSO roles.

Suffolk's Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: "As I meet people across the county, one thing is clear - residents want as many officers as possible on the front-line.

"I'm pleased to say we have listened."

But Mr Trask, whose union represents PCSOs, said he believed the new police officers would be involved in more "complex" crime with Safer Neighbourhood Teams, meaning they would spend less time on the beat.

He said PCSOs were "the first point of contact for people in the community" and that the announcement came as a "real blow".

A consultation on the proposals will run until 30 August, with the agreed changes being put in place from October.

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