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Consultation ends on neighbourhood policing proposals

16 Dec 2020

In October 2020, Cambridgeshire Constabulary announced proposals to the new Neighbourhood Policing model, which offered a restructure for consultation to affected staff.

The proposal aimed to manage the financial challenges faced by the force and reduce the budget gap for the financial year 2021/22 and beyond, predominantly through staff reductions, specifically community safety, enquiry offices and PCSOs.

Following a month-long consultation with staff (in line with the Police Staff Handbook), 13 alternative proposals were submitted across all three teams of staff affected. These were all reviewed in detail, alongside feedback from key stakeholders, partner agencies, members of the public and Unison, and the outcomes are as follows:

The agreed proposals and counter-proposals for implementation in respect of the PCSOs are:

  • Implementation of original proposals (reduction of PCSOs from 80 to 40)
  • Rebalancing of PCSOs across Fenland neighbourhood teams in line with local demand

The agreed proposals and counter-proposals for implementation in respect of the community safety officers are:

  • Implementation of original proposals
  • Increase of designing out crime officer (DOCO) posts by one full time equivalent for three to six months, to allow for a potential redeployment for someone at risk of redundancy in order to secure resilience in the short term

The agreed proposals and counter-proposals for implementation in respect of the station enquiry officers are:

  • Change the number of enquiry officer posts to 13 full time equivalent posts across the county (original proposal 11)
  • Implementation of a new shift pattern to increase resilience
  • Implementation of the other original proposals

Chief Constable Nick Dean said: "It is with great regret that these decisions have been taken, but this is financially driven and we are simply unable to balance our books any other way.

"I am grateful to all those who took the time to submit alternative proposals - they have all been considered carefully and some changes to the original proposals have been made, however, the need remains to continue to deliver neighbourhood policing services within the financial constraints we face."

While awaiting the specific funding settlement details of the Government Spending review later this week, it is not clear exactly what funding the Constabulary will receive for the next financial year and beyond. However, it is expected, given the economic climate and earlier Government announcements that any future funding will not significantly alter the longer-term financial pressures faced by the Constabulary.

The Force will continue to receive the ring-fenced funding from Government to deliver its contribution to the 20,000 uplift programme across the country. 62 of those officers are already in force and a further 62 anticipated in 2021/22, and 82 in 2022/23 (subject to confirmation) enabling the continuation and enhancing of the neighbourhood policing commitment to our communities.

Chief Constable Dean added: "We are working hard to ensure those who wish to remain in the organisation are able to do so, either as a police officer or in a suitable alternative role.

“We are committed to delivering quality policing to our neighbourhoods, however, we know this will be in a different way to how we have delivered it in the past, due to the financial challenges.

"This is never a decision any organisational leader wants to make, but with public sector finances as fragile as they are, and are unlikely to change, there is no other choice."

Staff affected have been briefed by the Chief Constable on the decision and processes are in place to fill the remaining roles, in a fair and transparent way.

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