Under questioning by the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee the Met Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, confirmed that plans to scrap all of the capital’s Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), had been dropped and that the 649 PCSOs posts attached to neighbourhood teams would be “guaranteed” with no PCSOs facing redundancy.
The confirmation from the Commissioner came after I quizzed him on the issue during a session of the Police and Crime Committee on Thursday (17th December), the day after the Mayor was questioned by Ms McCartney on the issue.
The Metropolitan Police had been due to consider plans to axe all of the capital’s PCSOs at its Management Board meeting on the 29th September but had pushed back the final decision until December after significant opposition.
The cuts could have seen neighbourhood policing teams in Enfield and Haringey 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.
There are currently 1099 neighbourhood PCSOs in the capital, including 41 in Enfield and 26 in Haringey.
PCSOs are the eyes and ears of the police, they play an incredibly important intelligence gathering role and scrapping them entirely would have been an absolute disaster.
PCSOs have faced months of uncertainty as a result of the Government’s threatened funding cuts. I am glad our campaign has helped to prevent these cuts and reassure PCSOs that their role is highly valued.
There is little doubt scrapping PCSOs would have resulted in the end of neighbourhood policing as we know it.