South Yorkshire police presence set to disappear as cuts to support officers planned
- Wednesday 3 April 2019
Visible neighbourhood policing in South Yorkshire is set to be slashed if controversial plans to cut Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) are approved, Unite the UK and Ireland’s largest union has warned.
South Yorkshire Police is currently considering a series of cost saving options, several of which envisage cutting PSCOs who currently undertake the vast majority of the visible and neighbourhood policing in the region. Several proposals envisage reducing the PSCOs service to an office hours (9-5) Monday to Friday service, potentially giving carte blanche to criminals outside these hours.
Huge pay cut
Unite estimates that if the proposals are adopted it will mean that PCSOs will lose £450 a month, as they will no longer receive shift pay. The union believes that the cuts in pay will be so severe that existing officers will be forced to seek alternative employment, which will further damage community cohesion.
The PCSOs are now the key players in neighbourhood policing. They play a vital role in local communities, and engage with residents, voluntary groups and councillors in tackling anti-social behaviour. As well as offering reassurance to communities they also play a key role in intelligence gathering to tackle crime.
Increasingly PCSOs work with local authority housing officers with regards to enforcement action and clean up campaigns.
Slash visible policing
Unite South Yorkshire police branch secretary Andrew Whysall said: “These changes will effectively slash visible policing in areas which have already been severely hit due to government cuts.
“By reducing PCSOs to office hours Monday to Friday, South Yorkshire police are effectively giving a green light to criminals to break the law and commit anti-social behaviour outside these hours.
“These proposed cuts will cause huge financial misery to our members and will force many to vote with their feet and leave their jobs, further damaging policing in South Yorkshire.
“The senior command team in South Yorkshire need to understand the key role that PCSOs play and preserve their roles for the good of local communities.”
Notes to editors:
A PCSO earns between £21,507 - £23,361 a year.
If the cuts are introduced South Yorkshire police estimate it will save £1.1 million a year which will be used to fund Neighbourhood police constable who are significantly more expensive than a PCSO.
For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.