PCSO numbers plunge in Brighton and Hove as role is redefined

Posted On 08 Mar 2016 at 2:07 pm

The number of PCSOs on the streets of Brighton and Hove will have gone down by a more than a third in two and a half years this summer.

Sussex Police is reducing the numbers to cope with a dwindling budget, and by July there will be 39 working in the city, compared to 66 in early 2014.

Since the consultation on the reduction in roles started, 10 PCSOS have left, and eight have been redeployed to other areas.

But the city’s commander, Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp, says the role has been redefined to make it more effective.

As well as changing how the team works, officers will have additional powers to enforce licensing in some premises to stop alcohol being sold to those under age, street drinkers and people who are drunk – and they will also be issued with body worn cameras

Ch Supt Kemp said: “The Local Policing Programme Model will see 39 PCSOs working across Brighton and Hove when their new enhanced role goes live in July, with 12 in the east, nine in the west and 18 based in the city centre.

“All PCSOs will work with the alongside Brighton and Hove City Council staff in our Safe in the City team as required.

 “This compares with a current number of 44 PCSOs across the city, including the Safer in the City Team, against an establishment of 50, which has reduced from 66 in early 2014.

“The makeup of the Safer in the City Team forms part of the wider Prevention Team design, however we are committed to working with partners to ensure that the city is a safe place to live and work.

“The proposed number of PCSOs has been based on careful analysis of the demands on the role. The new role will enable PCSOs to be more effective, with more skills and responsibilities which will enhance their ability to tackle and resolve local problems and prevent crime and disorder.

 “These three teams of PCSOs form part of a wider prevention team, actively prioritising those who are vulnerable and addressing community concerns. The team will deployed flexibly to meet demand. This means that PCSOs from each area could be deployed in another area of the city if necessary.

“Contact details will be made available for the team, which will include an e-mail address and a telephone number because we recognise that communication is integral to their success.

“Team contact details will also mean that if aPCSO is abstracted for any reason from a team, there will be others able to deal with any issues. We have already found deploying some Neighbourhood Police Officers in this way to be effective and more efficient in tackling problems in a focused and targeted way.”

The new PCSO role has been proposed as part of a range of changes to neighbourhood policing, which went out for consultation in December until mid-February.

A new resolution centre will take on some of the low level work they had dealt with.

Existing PCSOs are now applying for the 196 new roles across the force, reduced from 259 when the consultation began.

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