A response to a Freedom of Information request has indicated that front line PCSO numbers have dropped by more than half in York since 2016.
PCSOs passing out in 2014
Liberal Democrat Councillor Ashley Mason, who is currently serving as the Vice Chair to the Police & Crime Panel, recently submitted a Freedom of Information request to North Yorkshire Police Force. He wanted to know the number of community police officers patrolling the streets of the City.
In response, Cllr Mason was told that there are currently 25 front line PCSOs in York.
This compares to 64 in 2016.
Cllr Mason had also requested the figures for the last 10 years, but unfortunately, was told that this information was not recorded.
This revelation comes amidst growing concerns that the fall in police numbers, due to Government cuts, has lead to increases in crimes throughout England. Although this has been denied by Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, a leaked report from her own department, has suggested reductions in police numbers were “likely” to have led to the increase.
Earlier this year, PCC Julia Mulligan promised to look into the neighbourhood policing system in York, after many local councillors expressed concerns about the lack of local officers in their communities.
Councillor Ashley Mason, Liberal Democrat and Vice Chair of the Police & Crime Panel:
“PCSOs are a vital link between the police and the communities they serve. To loose so many over two years is shocking.”
“It is interesting to see that the Police and Crime Commissioner say that numbers high, which suggests that some PCSO’s are being taken away from the City of York.”
“I will be writing to the Police and Crime Commissioner to express my concerns and insist that her review of the force begin as soon as possible”
PCC Julia Mulligan has responded by saying that the North Yorkshire Police website, from which the figures in the FOI response were taken, was incorrect.
Councillor Ashley Mason responded by saying:
“I sent through a request to North Yorkshire Police for them to confirm to me the number of PCSOs working in York. I was a little surprised in the first instance when I was only referred to the North Yorkshire Police’s website, as the numbers indicated were low.
“I queried this with the force’s Civil Disclosure Unit and was again directed to North Yorkshire Police’s website, where I was told that the numbers of PCSOs could be found under the details of the ‘York North’ and ‘York City’ Neighbourhood Teams. As indicated on the website, only 25 PCSOs are detailed.
“If as the Police & Crime Commissioner has said that these numbers are incorrect, then this should be absolutely reflected on the North Yorkshire Police Force website, particularly if Councillors and members of the public are going to be directed to the website. Neighbourhood policing is extremely important to communities here in York and therefore, it is essential that information provided to the public is correct.”