MET BACKS DOWN ON PLANS TO SCRAP ALL LONDON PCSOs / KNIFE AMNESTY PROPOSAL
Under questioning at Thursday’s London Assembly police and crime committee Met Police commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, confirmed that plans to scrap all of the capital’s Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), had been dropped and that the 649 PCSOs posts attached to neighbourhood teams would be “guaranteed” – with no PCSOs facing redundancy.
The confirmation from the Commissioner came after Labour assembly policing spokeswoman Joanne McCartney quizzed Boris Johnson on the issue at mayor’s question time yesterday (Wednesday).
The Metropolitan Police had been due to consider plans to axe all of the capital’s PCSOs at its management board meeting on 29th September but had pushed back the final decision until December after significant opposition.
There are currently 1099 neighbourhood PCSOs in the capital, 649 of whom are attached to specific ward teams.
Joanne McCartney said: “PCSOs are the eyes and ears of the police. “They play an incredibly important intelligence gathering role and scrapping them entirely would have been an absolute disaster.
“PCSOs have faced months of uncertainty as a result of the Government’s threatened funding cuts. “I am glad our campaign has helped to prevent these cuts and reassure PCSOs that their role is highly valued.
“There is little doubt scrapping PCSOs would have resulted in the end of neighbourhood policing as we know it.”
A London Assembly Labour spokesman said: “Asked whether he could retain 1 PC and 1PCSO neighbourhood policing teams, Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan Howe said ‘yes, as a minimum.
“He went on to say there was a ‘definite possibility to better that.’ “He said he hoped to make announcements in January or February 2016.
“He later stated that ‘I think there is 649 in the neighbourhood … those are the ones we can now guarantee the future of…’ and that no PCSOs would face redundancy.
The Metropolitan Police Management Board was due to consider the following options on the future of PCSOs in December:
o Retain 629 dedicated ward PCSO posts.
o Remove all Neighbourhood PCSO posts.
Joanne McCartney is the London Assembly Member for Enfield and Haringey
KNIFE AMNESTY PROPOSAL
Responding to the Met Commissioner’s comments that he will consider her proposals for a knife amnesty in London, Labour London Assembly Member for North East, Jennette Arnold said:
“With both the Mayor and Commissioner now agreeing to look at our proposals for a knife amnesty, we’re one step closer to getting more of these weapons off the streets where they can do so much damage.”
Her calls for a knife amnesty come after 15 teenagers in the capital were stabbed to death this year – including seven teenagers in her own constituency
“After the recent increase in the number of young people stabbed to death in the capital the last thing anybody wants to see is another life lost and another family devastated by these horrendous acts.
“Whilst an amnesty is only part of the solution, it’s important the Mayor and Commissioner recognise the positive impact allowing people to hand over their knives without fear of prosecution could have.”
Jennette Arnold is the London Assembly Member for North East (covering Hackney, Islington, and Waltham Forest). (Source: GLA Labour party press releases).