Plan 'to halve number of Medway PCSOs'

Plans to halve the number of police community support officers (PCSOs) in Medway are being considered, Kent Police Authority (KPA) has said.

Figures seen by Medway Council suggest the number of PCSOs could be reduced from 66 to 31.

KPA confirmed the scale of the proposed cuts but said they were subject to further discussions.

The changes do not involve job losses, but the redeployment of PCSOs to other parts of the county.

Graham Hooper, KPA's chief executive, confirmed "a cut of that proportion" was being considered.

He said: "I think the force intends to go back to Medway and have further discussions about the consequences of a cut of that kind of number."

The force was strengthening local teams by putting additional police officers into neighbourhoods, he said.

Treated poorly

However, Councillor Mike O'Brien described the police authority's proposal as a "bolt out of the blue".

Mr O'Brien, the cabinet member for community safety at the Conservative-controlled council, said residents had been treated poorly.

He said: "We have always been reassured that our PCSOs were secure and were an integral part of our policing here in Medway."

Kent Police said no decision had been made.

In a statement, Kent Police said it had not proposed to the police authority to cut PCSOs and numbers would remain the same for at least two years.

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