Suffolk Constabulary has pledged to ensure local policing remains at the heart of the county’s police service as a new neighbourhood model is implemented.
The restructure sees more than 100 police officers move into Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs).
The extra resource in SNTs aims to ensure the constabulary has the ability to respond to the increasing demand it faces, and the public’s desire for more visible policing.
The new model, implemented today (29 October), will enable local policing to continue to be as flexible, effective and efficient as possible for all our communities.
The changes will mean more than 150 Police Constables and 28 Sergeants will work in SNT’s.
However to achieve this, the number of Police Community Support officers (PCSOs) has been reduced from the 81 full-time equivalent (FTE) PCSOs in July to 48 FTE PCSOs.
A total of 30 PCSOs will work within the SNTs, while the constabulary is looking to achieve 18 partner-funded posts across the county. At present the number stands at 16 which are subject to two-year service level agreement.
Further changes see the introduction of Community Engagement Officers and a new Serious Crime Disruption Team has been created to tackle crime trends.
Three Neighbourhood & Partnerships Teams (NPT) have been created and are responsible for the management of specific areas of policing such as Rural Crime, Licensing and Retail/Business Crime, ensuring that these are tackled and developed in a joined up way.
The purpose of the new model is to ensure the force has the right resources in the right place at the right time, providing a proactive policing resource and puts visibility and accessibility at its forefront.
Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Kearton said: “When we announced these proposals over the summer, we said that local policing is our bedrock and is at the heart of our service.
“These changes demonstrate that we have, and will continue to listen to the public who we serve and who want as many officers on the frontline as possible.
“Moving more than 100 officers will allow us to be more effective in meeting the challenges we are facing.
“We have had to make some difficult decisions about the composition of our future workforce and the blend of skills and abilities we will require.
“However, we acknowledge the value and important contribution of PCSOs and we are still committed to them continuing to play a key role within our communities. I’d like to pay tribute to the hard work of all our PCSOs, especially those that have left the force. I’m extremely proud of the outstanding contribution they have made.
“Our goal was to keep redundancies to as few as possible and ensure our staff were re-deployed wherever possible. A vast majority of the PCSOs who were put at risk have been retained within the organisation where their skills and experience will continue to be used.
“It is also important to acknowledge these changes to improve our policing model will be closely monitored and evaluated over the coming 12 months to ensure they are effective.
“It is incumbent on us that we continue to adapt, and we will always be looking to improve our services whilst at the same time being financially sustainable.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk Tim Passmore said: “The message that comes through loud and clear when I speak to local communities is they want much greater visibility and I’m pleased to say we have listened.
“From today we will see an extra 104 police officers moving into the Safer Neighbourhood Teams, which is great news. In order to do this some police roles have been civilianised, officers have been moved from central to local teams and regrettably the number of PCSOs will now reduce, but the outcome will be more police officers in local policing.
Mr Passmore added: “I’d like to wish all these officers the best of luck in their new roles and hope the public appreciates that, without any extra funding from central government, the Chief Constable is making the most of the resources he has to provide an efficient and effective police service to the people of Suffolk.”
Suffolk’s Chief Constable Gareth Wilson and PCC Tim Passmore will be taking part in a live webchat on the Suffolk Police website from 6pm until 8pm today (Monday 29 October) where members of the public can ask a question. Go to www.suffolk.police.uk to join.
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Police Connect Team