Union call for return of PCSOs to Norfolk rejected
Police chiefs in Norfolk have today rejected union leaders' calls for community support officers to be reinstated amid pledges of new funding for the service.
The proposal from Unison, which represents police staff, follows last month’s pledge by new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to recruit 20,000 new officers nationally.
They say communities will suffer unless police officer and staff numbers are restored to pre-austerity levels.
But force bosses say extra officers will be recruited with any additional resources the county receives.
Unison officials have accused Mr Johnson of doing “half a job” with his promises on law and order.
And they have called for PCSOs, which were axed by Norfolk Police last year in a drastic shake-up of the force, to be reinstated, warning that new officers will end up doing their old jobs otherwise.
Ben Priestley, the union’s national officer for police staff, said: “Just as doctors alone can’t run a hospital, officers can’t patrol the beat and tackle crime without police staff and PCSOs working alongside them.
“Norfolk must bring back their PCSOs and ministers must restore the entire police workforce to 2010 levels, not just part of it.
“Otherwise the community will suffer the consequences.”
But Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Paul Sanford said more than 80 new police officers had been recruited following the force’s decision to axe PCSOs.
He said: “We welcome the recent announcement by the government to increase police officer numbers and await further details on the proportion of funding which will be allocated to Norfolk, along with additional funding for police staff necessary to support the increase.
“However, I would like to make it clear that any funding we receive will be used to recruit more police officers, who, with warranted powers, provide a more flexible and effective workforce in dealing with the volume and complex demands of policing which we experience in Norfolk today.”