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Cambridgeshire police force cuts to go ahead despite objections

Cambridgeshire Constabulary is pushing ahead with redundancies despite objections by all candidates for police and crime commissioner (PCC). In October…

By admin , in Cambridge , at December 18, 2020 Tags:

Cambridgeshire Constabulary is pushing ahead with redundancies despite objections by all candidates for police and crime commissioner (PCC).

In October 2020, the force announced proposals to restructure part of its neighbourhood policing team, which would see more than 50 staff made redundant due to budget restrictions.

Earlier this week, the Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrat candidates for PCC in next May’s elections said the plans should be shelved until after the election, as the current acting PCC was unelected.

The proposals aimed to manage the financial challenges faced by the force and reduce the budget gap for the next financial year, predominantly through staff reductions.

Following a month-long consultation with staff, 13 alternative proposals were submitted across all three teams of staff affected, and new proposals were made, which include rebalancing where police community support officers (PCSOs) are based across the county.

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.”

He 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.”

The number of PSCOs will still be halved from 80 to 40, but the roles will be rebalanced across the Fenland neighbourhood teams in line with local demand.

The six-person strong community safety team will still be disbanded, but there will be one more designing out crime officer (DOCO).

The full-time-equivalent role will be in place for three to six months and will allow for a potential redeployment for someone at risk of redundancy.

Regarding the station enquiry officers, the number of positions remaining will be 13, with only four being made redundant, as opposed to six as was originally proposed.

There will also be a new shift to “increase resilience”, but nine enquiry offices will still be closed.

The force said that it was still awaiting the details of the government’s spending review later this week, so it was not sure how much it would receive in the next financial year.

“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,” said a spokesperson for the force.

The force will still receive funds from the government to hire more police officers as part of a Conservative manifesto promise to have 20,000 more police officers across the country, but these funds are ring-fenced.

Already, the force has hired 62 new officers, and a further 62 are expected in 2021/22, and 82 in 2022/23, subject to confirmation.

The constabulary said this would enable “the continuation and enhancing of the neighbourhood policing commitment to our communities”.

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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