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Cutting local PCSOs would disproportionately hit BME representation

The Metropolitan Police plans to axe all local PCSOs would disproportionately hit BME representation in the Met it has been revealed. New figures provided to Labour’s London Assembly Policing Spokesperson Joanne McCartney AM by the PCS Union have revealed that 34% of neighbourhood PCSOs in the capital come from BME backgrounds compared with only around 12% of police officers. In some boroughs, for example Waltham Forest up to 61% of PCSOs are from BME backgrounds.

At Mayor’s Question Time today (Wednesday) Ms McCartney will urge Boris Johnson to halt the proposals to scrap all of London’s neighbourhood PCSOs until the impact on BME representation is addressed and a full public consultation has been conducted. Despite recent increases in the number of police officers from BME backgrounds there are still comparatively high proportion of PCSOs from BME backgrounds compared with police officers. Ms McCartney said cutting PCSOs would risk the Met failing on its target to create a force which better reflects the community it serves.

A decision on the future of PCSOs is due to be taken by the Metropolitan Police at its Management Board meeting on 29thSeptember. The cuts could see neighbourhood policing teams reduced to just a single police officer for each ward despite having six officers (3 PCSOs, 2 PCs and a sergeant) only 3 years ago.

Labour’s London Assembly Spokesperson for Policing Joanne McCartney AM said:

“We need a police force which reflects the makeup of the communities it serves. Scrapping all of London’s local PCSOs would not only destroy our system of neighbourhood policing it would be a massive step backwards in terms of the representativeness of the police. 

“Whilst its good police officer diversity is improving, the Government’s savage budget cuts are going to have a dramatic impact on the Met. Changes like getting rid of London’s PCSOs would completely alter the shape and makeup of London’s police force. Whilst the Government’s savage budget cuts will undoubtedly mean change, that shouldn’t be done by stealth. What I want to see is a solid commitment from the Mayor to an open and honest conversation with the public about the future of policing in the capital.”

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