NO MORE PCSOs?
Commenting on reports the Metropolitan Police is considering axing over 1,000 PCSO’s in London, Labour’s London Assembly policing spokeswoman Joanne McCartney said:
“This is the clearest sign yet that Government cuts are decimating London’s police force. “Axing all of London’s PCSOs would be the final nail in the coffin for neighbourhood policing and mean far fewer officers on the beat in our communities acting as the eyes and ears of the Met.
“Boris Johnson has already cut neighbourhood police teams from six officers to only two, axing every PCSO would leave just a single officer left to police vast areas of the capital.
“With at least £800m of expected cuts hanging over the Met, there is a real question as to whether the police service as we know it will exist in ten years’ time.”
A Labour assembly statement says that according to information received by Joanne McCartney the options to be considered by the Metropolitan Police management board on 29th September include:
Retain 629 dedicated ward PCSO posts.
Remove all Neighbourhood PCSO posts.
According to the PCS Union there are currently 1,017 safer neighbourhood PCSOs in the capital, say Labour.
In a separate statement Joanne McCartney AM said the Home Secretary must ‘come clean’ about plans to slash the Metropolitan Police budget.
The warning came in a letter sent to Theresa May MP after analysis by the Police and Crime Commissioners Treasurers’ Society (PACCTS) seen by the Guardian newspaper reportedly predicted potential cuts of up to 43 per cent to the Met’s budget in the upcoming Government spending review.
“Between 2010 and 2016 the Metropolitan Police budget will have already been cut by almost £600m, something Joanne McCartney said had led to drastic cuts to neighbourhood policing and left the Met struggling to cope” adds the Labour statement.
“News of the potential cuts come despite violent crime in the capital having risen 24 per cent over the past 12 months and overall crime rising 3.5pc across the same period.”
Joanne McCartney said: “We’ve already seen the demise of local neighbourhood policing in favour of a cheaper area based approach.
“We also know that some crimes, for example violent offences including stabbings, are already significantly on the rise with increased reporting of others like rape and sexual offences requiring more resources to address properly.
“Up until now the debate has centred on whether we can maintain police numbers at current levels, this scale of cut would blow that ambition out of the water.
“With crime beginning to rise in the capital, and an ever growing population, it’s not clear how much of the budget will actually be left to police the streets of the capital.
“This cannot, and should not, be acceptable to the Home Secretary. “It’s time she came clean about the scale of these cuts and the impact they will have.”
Joanne McCartney is the Labour London Assembly Member for Enfield and Haringey. (Source: GLA Labour party press release).