The Metropolitan Police will consider plans to axe all local PCSOs at its Management Board meeting on the 29th September it has been revealed. The cuts could see neighbourhood policing teams reduced to just a single police officer for each ward despite having six officers (3 PCSOs, 2 PCs and a sergeant) only 3 years ago.
The cuts would signal the final nail in the coffin for neighbourhood policing and I call on the Mayor to halt the cuts and engage in meaningful consultation with local communities. According to the latest Metropolitan Police data, there are currently 141 PSCOs in Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest all of whom could all face the axe if these plans go ahead. Across the capital as a whole axing local PCSOs entirely would mean over 1,000 officers lost from London’s streets.
The cuts would come on top of previous reductions in PCSO numbers with 238 lost from Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest’s streets since May 2010.
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.