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Cambridgeshire police reveals plans for more officers, less PCSOs

PUBLISHED: 09:31 23 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:31 23 November 2017

Cambridgeshire police is set to recruit more frontline officers. Picture: Ian Burt

Cambridgeshire police is set to recruit more frontline officers. Picture: Ian Burt

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Cambridgeshire police is set to recruit 50 more front line officers and reduce the number of PCSOs.

The move comes after neighbouring Norfolk police announced it was making 150 PCSOs redundant and closing seven police stations to fund the recruitment of 81 extra officers.

Cambridgeshire’s shake-up comes after senior officers voiced concerns over the level of demand facing policing and the pressure it was putting on the force’s control room, frontline and investigations.

The force now plans to recruit an extra 50 officers and balance its budget to make £3.1m in savings.

It says it will recruit now new intakes of PCSOs, allowing its 126 community officers to be “reduced by natural turnover” with a commitment to retain a minimum of 80.

Chief Constable Alec Wood said: “Our current policing model is no longer sustainable and is hampering our ability to manage our demand. Like forces across the country, Cambridgeshire faces an unprecedented workload and, as a result, officers and staff are working long hours and juggling heavy workloads.

“We remain committed to protecting the most vulnerable people and targeting the most serious offenders. But this means we have to be realistic about what we can and cannot attend, and make some difficult decisions about our future structure.

“The focus of this review and the proposed model is putting more officers on the frontline to enable us to provide the public with the best service possible. This structure will enable us to fund an additional 50 officers which will make a huge difference to the people of Cambridgeshire.

“We need to acknowledge the changing profile of crime as well as the changing threat and risk to public safety, much of which would have been unrecognisable just a few years ago. We also need to deliver a policing model that makes the best use of our finances, which in real terms are reducing.”

Police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite said: “The pledge of an extra 50 constables will help us respond effectively to the changing face of demand, whilst maintaining our commitment to neighbourhood policing. I know a great deal of work has gone into delivering this review and am satisfied that, with the strong leadership team the force has in place, the new model will be able to meet the challenges ahead.”

The changes will go live from the start of the new financial year in April. They include:
More officers to be deployed to the areas of greatest risk and need - frontline, child protection, rape investigation and partnership and operational support.

Creation of a MET Hub focusing on missing, exploited and trafficked children to protect those children most at risk of harm and focus on those offenders who target them.

Retention in the role of PCSOs to deliver highly effective model of neighbourhood policing and problem solving. Continued commitment to community safety.

Front counter provision retained in every district council area, albeit reducing opening in line with demand.

Retention of serious and organised crime team, cyber and fraud team, surveillance team to continue to tackle serious and organised crime gangs.

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