Valentines councillor airs fears over ‘illogical’ plans to cut PCSOs

Cllr Khayer Chowdhury outside Ilford police station

Cllr Khayer Chowdhury outside Ilford police station - Credit: Archant

There could be even fewer PSCOs patrolling our streets if plans to cut officer numbers are approved.

Valentines Ward’s Cllr Khayer Chowdhury expressed concern following the news that proposals to either remove all 1,017 PCSO posts across London or cut numbers to have just one PCSO assigned to each London ward, were to be debated at a police meeting on Tuesday, next week.

The meeting comes after figures showed that Redbridge’s PCSO numbers had fallen by 60 per cent between May 2010 and June 2015 – from 112 officers to 45, a loss of 67 officers.

Cllr Chowdhury, who was worried about officer numbers when he went on a patrol with Redbridge police in June, said: “We can’t afford to lose them – they do an incredible amount of hard work.

“PCSOs have an important role in terms of gathering intelligence and they’re an assuring sight to see on our streets.

“There’s no way I can afford to lose my PCSOs in Valentines – we would be in trouble if we did, so it’s a concern.”

The councillor said any planned cuts were “ruthless” and “illogical”.

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“There’s an assumption that Redbridge can manage,” said Cllr Chowdhury. “They don’t have enough resources and I don’t understand how we’re going to cope – one per ward is definitely not enough, especially when I have got 14,000 people living Valentines.”

The proposals come as Metropolitan Police expect to make savings of at least £800million over the next four years.

Cdr Lucy D’Orsi, leading the neighbourhood policing project, said: “Like local communities we very much value PCSOs and their role in community engagement, they have been an integral part of the safer neighbourhoods model from the start. However, the financial pressures we are facing mean that we have a duty to consider all options available in order to meet those challenges and to ensure we deliver a quality policing service to London’s communities.”