1. ITV Report

Norfolk becomes first force to scrap all PCSOs in major restructuring

One-hundred and fifty PCSOs to go.

Norfolk’s Chief Constable has announced plans for a major restructuring which will see all of the county's Police Community Support Officers (PCSO) being made redundant and a number of public inquiry offices closed.

Launched in 2015, the review called ‘Norfolk 2020’ aims to save £10 million pounds over the next three years.

UNISON said it is a day they prayed would never come to Norfolk.

The proposal will see 150 PCSO posts being made redundant. Twenty-five front office staff posts will also go.

Seven police stations around the county will be closed and relocated to other sites.

The following stations will close:

  • Acle
  • Coltishall
  • Caister
  • Bowthorpe
  • Tuckswood
  • Europa Way (Norwich)
  • North Lynn

Two new hubs will be created at Swaffham and Broadland Gate in Norwich.

Seven public inquiry offices will be closed. They are at Cromer, North Walsham, Thetford, Dereham, Fakenham, Hunstanton and Downham Market.

The seven public inquiry offices that will close.

The force plans to hold two hour long surgeries in those towns for people to talk to officers.

Simon Bailey has been the Chief Constable since 2013.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey told staff this morning about the restructuring plans.

These are radical plans which come at a critical time when the police service is facing unparalleled growth in complex crime together with reduced policing budgets.

I’ve always been clear that meeting this challenge would be a turning point for the police service and that we would have to change the way we work in order to meet rising demand.

The plans announced today, I believe, will deliver the most responsive police service for Norfolk, meeting the needs of our communities while protecting the most vulnerable people in our society.

These are difficult decisions and I’m acutely aware of the impact this will have on individuals directly affected and the communities they serve. Change on this scale is challenging but my priority as ever is to make sure we continue to deliver a responsive, relevant and viable police service for the people of Norfolk.

– Chief Constable Simon Bailey
Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green.

Speaking on the back of the Chief Constable’s announcement, Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Lorne Green, said:

This is a bold and innovative change programme - the result of a number of tough decisions by the Chief Constable, not least because of their impact on staff.

Ultimately, the Chief Constable has operational independence over how he structures his force. However, it is my duty to hold him to account for how his decisions deliver an efficient and effective 21st century policing service which meets the county’s Police and Crime Plan priorities. I will be closely scrutinising the implementation and impacts of the proposed changes and holding the Chief Constable to account over the coming months at public police accountability meetings across the county.

– Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Lorne Green

In reaction to Simon Bailey's announcement UNISON Police Branch Secretary, Caren Reeves said today is the day she prayed would never come to Norfolk.

In a statement she said: "The closure of public access at ten police stations will leave members of the public unable to make enquiries or report local issues in person unless they visit Great Yarmouth, Norwich or King's Lynn.

"The majority of the 161 Norfolk police staff affected by these cuts would be unlikely to find other positions within the Constabulary, resulting in financial devastation for their families and the knock-on impact on their local communities.

"I believe these losses are a direct result of the ongoing unreasonable and insurmountable government cuts to police budgets.

"I ask that you support us during this 45 day consultation period and contact your MP, your councillor, PCC Lorne Green, Chief Constable Simon Bailey and of course your local papers to tell them how you feel about losing these vital police links with our communities."

Louise Haigh, Labour’s Shadow Policing Minister said:

“With crime once again surging and the terror threat level at severe, it is exactly the wrong time to be making further cuts to community policing. The link between the police and the community is being steadily eroded and with it the voluntary intelligence that forces depend on to keep crime down.”

The truth is the police are being forced to make decisions that will damage public engagement & confidence because of prolonged budget cuts. The Tories have to take responsibility; you simply cannot protect the public on the cheap.

“This is a dangerous new precedent for police forces as we know the withdrawal from communities has devastating consequences for crime prevention and public safety.”