Joy for Havering’s PCSOs after cuts are scrapped

PCSO Rachel Hurt, Mayor Linda Trew and PCSO Jackie Whitelock.

PCSO Rachel Hurt, Mayor Linda Trew and PCSO Jackie Whitelock. - Credit: Archant

The chairman of Havering Neighbourhood Watch has praised the borough’s “tremendous” PCSOs, as it was revealed they no longer face redundancy.

Michael Winter spoke to the Recorder following the news that Havering’s 36 police community support officers are no longer under threat from wide-reaching government cuts.

The scrapping of the plans was announced at a meeting of the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee by Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, who said that all 649 PCSOs attached to neighbourhood teams in the capital are now safe from redundancy.

Mr Winter said: “It is really good news, because we’d be lost without them.

“The work they have done over the last five years has been tremendous.

“They’ve helped us immensely with formulating strategies across the borough for operating as a neighbourhood watch.”

After revealing he was initially sceptical of the need for community police officers, Mr Winter has admitted that the work he has seen them do day-in, day-out has changed his mind.

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He said: “They are right on the front line.

“They are the eyes and the ears of the police on the streets in our communities.”

Havering has two more community support officers than the average in boroughs across London, but since 2009 has lost 71 per cent of its PCSOs.

The potential cuts would have cut Havering’s neighbourhood policing teams to a single police officer for each ward, despite having six officers – three PCSOs, two Pcs and a sergeant – only three years ago.

Now, however, it seems that the remaining positions are safe for the immediate future.

Joanne McCartney, Labour’s London Assembly policing spokesman, said: “PCSOs play an incredibly important intelligence gathering role and scrapping them entirely would have been an absolute disaster.

“There is little doubt it would have resulted in the end of neighbourhood policing as we know it.”