Extra police officers planned for Cambridgeshire under proposed new model

PUBLISHED: 15:26 01 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:26 01 December 2017

Archant

An extra 50 police officers are set to be deployed across Cambridgeshire following a review by the county force.

But the equivalent of 46 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) will go under the proposed new policing model, and savings of £3.1 million will be made in the next four years.

Chief Constable Alec Wood warned that the force would have to be “realistic” about what it could attend.

The move comes after Mr Wood and police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite raised concerns about the level of demand on the force.

New policing proposals will see an extra 50 officers to support frontline policing, £3.1 million in cuts and no new intakes of PCSOs, with numbers cut from 126 to 80 by natural wastage.

Mr Wood said: “Despite the recent ‘good’ grading by HMICFRS for efficiency, 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.”

He said: “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.

“I have had to make the difficult decision to reduce overall numbers of PCSOs. This is, in part, a financial decision but also an operational one. The harsh reality is that given the high levels of demand for police officers with warranted powers - to manage and investigate the increase in recorded crime, arrest offenders and make communities safer - I need to reduce the number of PCSOs and increase the number of operational police constables. And I am confident I have struck the right balance.”

Mr Ablewhite said: “I am wholly supportive of the constabulary’s proposed local policing review. 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.

“There have been some difficult decisions however I believe the new model is the right structure to both maintain neighbourhood policing whilst working with communities and partners to reduce crime.”

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