Proposals to axe PCSOs in West Norfolk remain unchanged following consultation
Proposals for the future of policing in West Norfolk, which includes the axing of all 150 PCSOs, have been confirmed following talks.
It comes after Chief Constable Simon Bailey announced the plans in October, during which he said a further £10m in savings needed to be made by 2020.
A consultation was held on the Norfolk 2020 plans for affected staff and UNISON to understand the plans in detail and to challenge or suggest alternatives. They also had the opportunity to consult on ways of avoiding, reducing or mitigating the consequence of potential redundancies.
While the proposals for PCSO staff remain unchanged, plans have been altered for Public Enquiry Offices (PEOs) following the closure of the consultation on Monday.
A spokeswoman for Norfolk Police said: “Chief officers considered all the questions, challenges and ideas submitted, including those that suggested civilian alternatives to police officer roles.
“However, given the changing nature of crime and a reducing workforce, the constabulary needs to retain its ability to increase police officers as required, and so, after full consideration, the PCSO proposals remain unchanged.
“With the PEO proposals, the affected staff have submitted a number of alternative shift patterns and raised a potential issue with resilience around unplanned absence.”
She said based on this feedback, plans have been altered and station opening hours will now be: Monday to Wednesday from 9am to 5pm and Thursday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm.
If the proposals are accepted, this will affect residents who use the PEO in Lynn.
Deputy Chief Constable Nick Dean, said: “I have greatly admired the professionalism shown in the feedback submitted from both UNISON and affected staff.
“I am acutely aware, that with the staff collective formally closing, and limited changes to the proposals, we now need to help our staff sensitively through the next steps.”
“We will, of course, seek to keep redundancies to as little a number as possible and I am pleased to see that already half of the affected staff have shown a preference to stay with the organisation.”
In October, it was confirmed that all 150 PCSOs in Norfolk would disappear under the proposals, including 115 ‘frontline’ officers, seen patrolling the streets.
In total, 175 Norfolk Constabulary jobs are at risk, but this will pay for 96 new police officers to tackle the crime challenges of the future.