PCSO posts to go as part of Suffolk Police changes
The number of community support officers (PCSOs) serving Haverhill and Sudbury Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) will halve after changes to Suffolk Police's structure were approved.
However, although the number of PCSOs in the SNT will drop from six (of which just two are currently in Haverhill) to three, the number of constables looks set to double, rising from six to 14.
Staff collective consultation on proposals for changes to Suffolk Constabulary’s policing model closed on September 3.
The proposed changes would see 104 police officers move into Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs) and PCSO posts reduced from the 81 full-time equivalent (FTE) posts in July to 48 FTEs.
The consultation provided the opportunity for affected staff and UNISON to understand the plans in detail, to challenge or suggest alternatives to the proposals and to consult on ways of avoiding, reducing or mitigating the consequence of potential redundancies.
Chief Officers, in conjunction with the 2025 team and HR, considered all the questions, challenges and ideas submitted and they have been very grateful for these contributions.
However, given the changing nature of crime and demand faced by the Constabulary after careful consideration, the proposals remain unchanged.
The force will continue to work on the implementation of the proposals and the intention is that the changes will come into effect on 29 October.
Chief Constable Gareth Wilson said: "I fully accept this news will come as a disappointment to affected staff.
"In addition to our own internal consultation we have listened and responded to councils and other interested parties across Suffolk and we will continue to engage with them to ensure we remain responsive to the ever-changing demands we face.
"Our PCSOs have carried 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.
"I do not under-estimate the impact this change programme has had and continues to have and I have been impressed by their professionalism throughout the consultation period and this has been reflected in the constructive feedback submitted from both UNISON and affected staff.
"The Constabulary will continue to support our staff sensitively through the next steps and I remain committed to finding every opportunity to retain our staff through redeployment within the organisation.
"I am confident that the changes will add to the visibility of police officers to our communities and as I have said many times before, local policing is the bedrock of our service, and the decisions I have taken to move additional officers into this area reflects this commitment.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk Tim Passmore 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 pleased to say we have listened.
"This revised local policing plan will see an extra 104 police officers moving into the Safer Neighbourhood Teams from October this year.
"In order to do this some police roles have been civilianised, officers have been moved from central to local teams and regrettably the number of PCSOs will now reduce, but the outcome will be more police officers in local policing.
"I would much rather there was no reduction in PCSO numbers because I've seen at first hand what a valuable contribution they make to keeping Suffolk safe but we have to live within our means.”
Mr Passmore added: "As I said when the plans were announced earlier in the summer, I will be monitoring the impact of this new model to ensure the people of Suffolk are getting the police service they deserve.
"I will also continue to lobby for fairer funding for the constabulary as I believe the root of our financial challenge lies with the huge unfairness of the funding from the Home Office which is why I will do everything possible to alter this injustice."
The finer details as to exactly where the changes will be implemented will be established in the coming weeks, but the intention is to have the new model in place on October 29.