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Suffolk Police to cut 40 per cent of its PCSO's as it pushes ahead with re-structure

Suffolk Police is set to move more than 100 officers into Safer Neighbourhood Teams
Suffolk Police is set to move more than 100 officers into Safer Neighbourhood Teams

Suffolk is to cut more than a third of its community support officers as part of police re-structuring plans.

After a review by Suffolk Police the number of PCSO's is to fall by 40 per cent - from 81 to 48 - with the force set to move 104 officers into Safer Neighbourhood Teams.

Mark Trask, Suffolk Police's UNISON branch secretary, warned 'there will see less police on the streets' after the changes.

"In Suffolk there used to be 173. This latest proposal will go as low as 48. There will be 48 people covering all of Suffolk. It's the largest county in the whole country and 48 people walking around is not a lot," he said

Mr Trask said the officers would be the first to be reassigned when needed for major operations and that PSCO's were vital in community policing and intelligence gathering.

Since 2010 Suffolk Police has lost 11 per cent of its workforce.

Chief Constable Gareth Wilson said he understood news would come as a 'disappointment' to affected staff but was 'confident changes will add to the visibility of police officers'.

"Our PCSOs have varried out excellent work across the county and I am confident that this work will continue, but this will be focussed on preventative work and supporting multi-agency interventions addressing high threat and high demand local issues.

"The combination of PCSOs, police officers and police staff in the right roles and locations will ensure that we continue to deliver a high quality service to our communities," he said.

Tim Passmore, Suffolk's Police and Crime Commissioner, said: "As I meet people across the county their message to me comes through loud and clear, they need much greater visibility and I'm please to say we have listened."

Compared to other forces, Suffolk Police costs 20 per cent less per person to run.

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