PCSO roles are safe, for now
Axing decision delayed until December
HILLINGDON’S 25 police community support officers (PCSOs) have been spared from the axe, at least until December.
Metropolitan Police bosses warned that it might be necessary to scrap all 629 of the roles across the capital under belt-tightening measures.
But at the Management Board meeting last Tuesday (September 29) the decision was pushed back until the end of the year. Hillingdon’s London Assembly member, Dr Onkar Sahota (Labour), welcomed the reprieve but added: “There is no doubt the spending cuts being made by this Government could have a terrible impact on London’s police force. They are putting great strain on the police force and it’s time the Home Secretary understood that the decimation of neighbourhood policing is not a price the London public are willing to pay.”
David Brough, chairman of the Hayes Town Partnership, also thinks losing PCSOs would be a “great step backwards”.
He said: “One of the arguments in favour of them was they could get to know the community and win the confidence of the community in a way that sometimes police officers were failing to do.
“There’s one particular PCSO in Hayes, Helen Morahan, who’s the model of what it’s all about. Everybody speaks so highly of her because she talks to people, she listens and she gets things done. And they’re in danger of throwing that all away.”
Alan Raymond Palmer, founder of the Crime Awareness Group for Ruislip and Eastcote, said the loss of PCSOs would be a “nail in the coffin for local communities”.
He added: “It highlights yet again how badly our government and those who choose to represent us are letting us down.
“Last winter our local police were overwhelmed by a spike in burglaries.
“If PCSOs are done away with, our local police basically have no one to reassure the public on the ground.
“Groups like ours will become even more important in the fight against crime.”
London’s deputy mayor for policing, Stephen Greenhalgh told the Gazette that tough choices needed to be made but added that any change in police numbers would “have to be made powerfully alongside a public consultation”.