England

Cuts to neighbourhood policing in Devon and Cornwall

Cuts to neighbourhood policing in Devon and Cornwall have been revealed in an internal police document.

The force says a dedicated police officer and community support officer (PCSO) for every neighbourhood is now "unsustainable".

In future PCSOs will form "the bedrock of neighbourhood policing".

The force, which is cutting 700 jobs due to budget cuts, said the document was for consultation and a final decision would be made later this year.

'Security guard'

Entitled Local Policing Roles, the policy document states there will "no longer be a police officer and police community support officer for every neighbourhood as this is unsustainable".

But Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Taylor said: "I have to emphasise we will have dedicated PCSOs in every neighbourhood."

ACC Taylor added that along with a police officer who may become part of a team with responsibility for a larger area geographically, they would continue "dealing with local routine incidents and also problem-solving and focusing on matters that the public care most about in their local communities".

But Nigel Rabbitts, who chairs the Police Federation for Devon and Cornwall, said the "valuable work" done by police officers in driving down crime in some areas would be lost if they became responsible for much larger areas.

Placing a PCSO in every neighbourhood was not the answer, he said.

"That's just like putting a security guard on the streets whereas someone with full powers is required," he said.

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