At the National Policing Board this week, Ministers confirmed that funding to recruit the first tranche of 6000 police officers is now allocated to forces and Sussex will be able to recruit 129 over the next 18 months.
This is on top of the 250 extra police officers that Sussex Police have already started recruiting over the next four years. It is great news and means that Sussex Police numbers will have risen by 379.
I know that Sussex residents will welcome the prospect of even more police officers that will further strengthen local policing and provide a visible deterrent in our communities. The additional capacity for Sussex Police prevention, response and investigation teams will also help them to better allocate their resources and tackle local crime.
As part of the precept rise an extra 100 PCSOs are also being recruited, bringing numbers to 296. This means that every community will have a named PCSO starting from next month.
When changes were made by Sussex Police four years ago, the decision was driven by the need to work within the available budget, when all of the public sector was under pressure. However, my focus groups and extensive conversations with local people clearly show that the public want PSCOs back in their communities.
Sussex Police have transformed PCSOs with more knowledge, skills and powers but have kept the best of the old model where they were known by their local communities. I’m pleased that residents will now have that reassuring link back with a local police contact.
Katy Bourne OBE says “I’m determined that rural communities also benefit from this announcement and that they do not feel abandoned when they try to report crime. This is why, among these extra PCSOs, a small dedicated team have been allocated to specifically target rural crime”.
Our local farmers and rural residents will also have a PCSO in their area with the training needed to understand their concerns and the skills to address them properly.