Norfolk police insist business case to axe PCSOs is sound, despite union challenge
PUBLISHED: 21:05 12 December 2017 | UPDATED: 21:05 12 December 2017
The business case to axe all 150 of Norfolk’s police community support officers is sound, chief officers have insisted - after a challenge by the union which represents the under threat officers.
Norfolk could become the first police force in the country to get rid of all its PCSOs, as part of proposals which aim to save £2m a year.
Under the proposals, the 150 PCSOs would be replaced with 81 new police officers and 16 non-officer roles. Public enquiry officer staff are also at risk of redundancy.
With the consultation period coming to a close, representatives from UNISON, who warn the cuts would leave people in the county at increased risk of becoming victims of crime and heap pressure on other staff, have held a series of meetings with the constabulary, having challenged the business case for the cut.
Chief constable Simon Bailey had justified the cut by saying PCSOs were no longer much cheaper than a police constable. He had said the average annual cost for a PCSO was £39,800, while for a police constable it was £41,620.
UNISON had argued the figure was wrong and did not represent the cost comparison of a beat manager police constable with a PCSO.
They argued beat manager police constables were generally longer in service, so cost the organisation significantly more than the figures quoted in the business case.
But Norfolk police said the business case had used the average cost of police constables across local policing to calculate its figures - so they were right.
Deputy chief constable Nick Dean, who is leading on the delivery of the plans to save £10m by 2020, said: “I welcome the challenges raised by UNISON and our affected staff.
“This is the purpose of consultation, to ensure that everyone understands the business case and has the right to question the findings.
“However, I can assure you that all figures have been carefully worked through with our finance department and the proposed model would deliver the budgetary savings required.
“While we were never going to reach a position of full agreement with regards to this specific challenge on the financial figures, I am content that the business case stands.”