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PCSOs under pressure as neighbourhood policing stripped bare in most forces

Unison survey of almost 1,000 PCSOs confirms HMIC finding that neighbourhood policing is being “eroded and corroded” in England and Wales.

Three quarters have seen PCSO and officer numbers reduce in their neighbourhood policing team.
• 57% of PCSOs have stopped performing some core neighbourhood policing duties and have been redeployed to work which keeps them off the beat.
• 77% of PCSOs say that their neighbourhood policing team has become less visible since they started working as a PCSO.
• 61% are more stressed than they were when they started.
• 53% of PCSOs now regularly have to deal with work that should be the responsibility of other agencies, e.g. health service, social services etc.

Jack Dromey MP, Labour’s Shadow Police Minister, said:
“Cuts to neighbourhood teams are undermining public safety and putting the police under greater strain.

“PCSOs are the heart of neighbourhood policing, and yet they are being stripped back in most forces. To make matters worse, as well as keeping communities safe, our police officers increasingly have to pick up the pieces where other services have been cut.

 “These findings also have extremely worrying implications for counterterrorism. As police chiefs have made starkly clear post-Paris, local officers who are closely engaged with communities have a crucial role in identifying threats at an early stage and preventing serious attacks from happening.

 “PCSOs around the country are right to be concerned at the progressive hollowing out of neighbourhood policing teams seen under the Tories.”

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