Anger as plans to axe all of London’s PCSOs are considered
All of London’s PCSOs could be axed, under plans being weighed up by police chiefs.
Scrapping PCSOs is one of the options being considered by the Metropolitan Police ahead of a meeting later this month.
Union members have hit out at the proposals.
It comes as the force plans how to make £800million of savings by 2019.
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of trade union PCS, said: “PCSOs provide a link between communities and the police that is crucial to developing and maintaining trust.
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“We don’t believe this is in the best interests of Londoners and we are calling on the Met to halt the plans and allow for proper negotiations around the alternatives.”
Met Police bosses will weigh up whether to axe all of the capital’s 1,017 PCSOs, retain 629 – one for each London ward – or keep the current number.
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London Assembly member Joanne McCartney, who represents Haringey, said: “This is the clearest sign yet that Government cuts are decimating London’s police force.
“Axing all of London’s PCSOs would be the final nail in the coffin for neighbourhood policing and mean far fewer officers on the beat in our communities acting as the eyes and ears of the Met.
“Boris Johnson has already cut neighbourhood police teams from six officers to only two, axing every PCSO would leave just a single officer left to police vast areas of the capital.
“With at least £800m of expected cuts hanging over the Met, there is a real question as to whether the police service as we know it will exist in ten years’ time.”
Commander Lucy D’Orsi, who is leading the neighbourhood policing project said: “Like local communities we very much value PCSOs and their role in community engagement, they have been an integral part of the Safer Neighbourhoods model from the start.
“However, the financial pressures we are facing mean that we have a duty to consider all options available in order to meet those challenges and to ensure we deliver a quality policing service to London’s communities.”