End of community policing? All 36 PCSOs in Hackney could be axed

gla member jennette arnold

gla member jennette arnold - Credit: Archant

A reassuring police presence on the streets is in jeopardy, with plans to axe every one of Hackney’s 36 police community support officers (PCSO).

London Assembly Member Jennette Arnold has warned this would be the “final nail in the coffin for neighbourhood policing”, after it was revealed the Metropolitan Police is considering cutting all local PCSOs across London.

The cuts could see neighbourhood policing teams reduced to just a single police officer for each ward despite having had six officers including three PCSOs, two Pcs and a sergeant just three years ago.

Ms Arnold called on London Mayor Boris Johnson to halt the cuts, which will be discussed at the Met’s management board meeting on September 29.

She 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.

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“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 10 years’ time.”

Getting rid of local PCSOs entirely would mean losing more than 1,000 officers from London’s streets.

London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, said that no decisions had yet been made but that “it is likely that tough choices will need to be made”.

Commander Lucy D’Orsi said: “Like local communities we very much value PCSOs and their role in community engagement, they have been an integral part of the Safer Neighbourhoods model from the start.

“However, the financial pressures we are facing mean that we have a duty to consider all options available.”