Norfolk Police becomes first to scrap PCSOs as part of radical reform

Norfolk Police are set to become the first police force in England to officially axe all their police community support officers to make budget cuts, adding to the closure of seven police stations and the shutting of front desks to the public.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey has said the reforms come as part of the government’s imposed £10m budget cut by 2020, having already slashed £20m from its budget since 2010.

Some 150 PCSOs will lose their job, with the stations at Hunstanton, Fakenham and Downham all set to close. This means that stations in the county will not be open past 6pm or on Sundays.

Whilst explaining the cuts, Bailey said PCSOs offer limited powers and ‘9-5 hours’, claims supported by the 357% increase in crimes needing complex investigations since 2013.

Bailey claimed that “an average police constable” only costs slightly more to employ and would be more useful in “high risk, high harm” cases, continuing with:

“The world has changed. I’m a traditionalist but I can’t be a traditionalist any longer. Bricks and morter don’t prevent crime. They give people a feelgood factor but they don’t prevent crime.

“The safeguarding and abuse teams will be strengthened with 31 more officers and staff, while there will be 139 fewer staff on less serious crimes. Police say employing more staff to investigate serious and complex cases will free up frontline staff.”