416 PCSOs saved as West Midlands Police say compulsory redundancies will not go ahead
More than 400 PCSO positions have been saved after West Midlands Police announced they are to close buildings instead.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has announced that there will be no compulsory redundancies of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), while admitting that 'difficult choices' lie ahead.
In November it was announced that the number of PCSOs was to fall from 535 to 119 over the next five years, a reduction of 416 positions, as part of a plan to make £130m of savings by 2020.
Currently West Midlands Police has 674 PCSO positions, of which 139 are vacant.
Instead of cutting the number of PCSOs the police will sell off buildings they own, and reduce the number they rent, as they face funding cuts.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: "This announcement follows much hard work from myself with the Chief Constable and Deputy Chief Constable. Working together we have made changes elsewhere in the organisation to be able to protect PCSOs, who the public value so highly.
"To protect PCSOs we are having to continue with efficiencies elsewhere, like the number of buildings we own and rent. West Midlands Police's funding is still going down, that is why we are having to continue to cut elsewhere to protect our PCSOs.
"The truth is that the pressures on the police are growing, we are dealing with issues like radicalisation, cyber-crime and child sexual exploitation in greater numbers than before, and our funding is still falling. There are still difficult choices to be made in the future.
"Following a sustained and high profile campaign we forced the Chancellor to think again about police funding, and whilst our funding has not been protected, we are in a better place than before. Our successful funding campaign combined with prioritising elsewhere, means that there will be no compulsory redundancies of PCSOs.
"Protecting PCSOs is a top priority and I have been pressing for this for some time. My job is to deliver for the public and everywhere I go people tell me how much they value their PCSOs. That is why we are protecting them."
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