Camden safety chief hits out over proposed Met Police PCSO cuts

Cllr Jonathan Simpson

Cllr Jonathan Simpson - Credit: Archant

A Camden safety chief has hit out at proposals which could see more than 1,000 PCSOs axed across London.

Councillor Jonathan Simpson, cabinet member for community safety at Camden Council, branded the potential move “shocking and worrying”.

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.

He said: “The reports that the Metropolitan Police are considering making cuts to their number of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) are shocking and worrying.

“As Cabinet member for community safety in Camden I have continually warned the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime about the consequences of cuts to police services, the closure of police stations and the need to protect front line police services, of which PCSOs are an integral part.

“I have repeatedly pointed out that there is a need to maintain a front line visible police presence on the streets as this provides both a deterrent and a reassurance to our communities.

“At the very least we would like some reassurance that PCSOs dedicated to local neighbourhood teams will remain in place.”

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And he added: “Camden has been funding additional police officers in Camden Town since 2013 and we will continue to support the police in the excellent work that they do, but we are increasingly concerned that further cuts mean they will operate in ever more difficult circumstances.”

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.”