Photograph: A Southport based PCSO along side, notorious former gangster Charlie Seiga
OTS news have been told today that all PCSO’s in Merseyside have already been informed that they are to be relieved of their duties in September next year.
We were told a few days ago that a decision wasnt to be made until February but the force have to bring £20million of cuts in Merseyside.
Since April 2011 over 1,500 officers have been lost as a result of budget cuts.
Savings of £77.4m have been made as a result and Merseyside Police now warn a further £70m needs to be saved in the next four years.
Next year the force will be required to make £20m worth of savings. The Merseyside Mounted Section will also considered for the axe.
PCSOs were first introduced in September 2002 and there are currently 15,820 PCSOs in England and Wales.
Merseyside Police’s Deputy Chief Constable Andy Cooke said it is with great regret that the forces PCSOs and mounted officers are being considered for the axe.
He said: “It is with a heavy heart that the force is considering cutting both of these invaluable areas of its policing service.
“PCSOs have more than proved their worth, working alongside police officer colleagues and they have played an integral part in the neighbourhood policing service that we provide to our communities.
“The mounted section, too, is highly valued and provides invaluable support for community based policing, at football matches and events and during incidents of public disorder.
“Our options are not in any way finalised and we are still working hard to examine all available options, including voluntary severance for police officers and voluntary early retirement or voluntary redundancy for police staff in other areas of force business.
“Throughout the next few months we will work with unions and the Police Federation to ensure that we effectively consult and communicate with our staff at every opportunity.”
It has been a tough few years for the force, with budget cuts of millions of pounds already having been made.
Mr Cooke said: “Throughout the five years we have worked hard, whilst making required cuts to our budget, to protect the frontline and ensure that we provide the policing service our public rightly expects.
“Going forward there is potential that the £48m we were expected to save in the next four years (starting in April 2016), is likely to increase substantially to £70m or more. This means that the force will have exceptionally hard decisions to make in relation to how the force functions and how we can provide an effective policing model that puts our communities’ needs at the heart of everything we do.
“The last four years have already seen the force undergo significant changes, and there is no doubt that the decisions going forward will only get harder and harder.
“The depth of the savings required has now gone beyond making small efficiencies. They now affect the whole structure of the force and the service we deliver to the community.
“When I became Deputy Chief Constable, Merseyside Police consisted of 7276 people, by 2019 the budgetary forecasts predict that Merseyside Police will consist of just 4444 people, and we will have lost a staggering 40 per cent of our workforce.
“There is no way you can take so many people out of a workforce and make such significant reductions to an organisation’s budget and expect it to deliver the same quality of service.”
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