Police community support officer numbers cut dramatically over past eight years

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The numbers of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) in Hampshire has fallen dramatically by more than a quarter since 2015.

An analysis of new Home Office statistics was commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has shown the drastic cuts to PCSOs in Hampshire.

A total of 215 full-time equivalent PCSOs were employed in Hampshire as of September 2022. This compares to the 368 that were employed in March 2016 – a 28.7% reduction.

Liberal Democrats have accused the Conservative Government of letting communities in Hampshire down by taking Police Community Support Officers off the streets, leading to more crimes going unsolved and victims going without justice

They say the same trend is being seen up and down the country, with the number of active PCSOs falling by an average of 33% in England and Wales since 2015. Nationally, England and Wales have lost 4,068 PCSOs since 2015.

Lib Dem MP candidate for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford, Danny Chambers, has slammed the Conservatives for this move, which means that less police officers are visible on the streets, building relationships – and trust – with local people. The party has called for a return to proper community policing.

He said: “These shocking figures prove that Conservative Ministers are yet again failing to prevent crime in Hampshire. They should be ashamed. Police Community Support Officers play a vital role in keeping our communities safe. The Government should be empowering them to do their job, not slashing their numbers into oblivion.

“I recently went out on patrol with a local police constable, Tom Harries, so I could see first hand the challenges that our police have to deal with on a daily basis. It’s a tough job and we need to ensure our regular police officers and PCSOs get the resources and support they need from government to keep our communities and streets safe.

“Liberal Democrats are calling for a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible, trusted and known personally to local people. We will build communities where people are safe – and feel safe, too.”

Photo: Hampshire Constabulary

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