Having already spoken out against proposed cuts** to PCSO numbers, closing enquiry offices and removing the community safety team, Darryl Preston has written an open letter to Nick Dean, Chief Constable at Cambridgeshire Constabulary, asking him to delay making them until after the PCC election next May:
Date: 7th November 2020
To: Chief Constable Nick Dean
First, as a resident of Cambridgeshire, I would like to thank you, your officers, staff and their families, for continuing to keep us all safe, risking their wellbeing in these challenging times.
I write specifically in relation to your recent announcement of proposed changes to Neighbourhood policing. Having spoken with many residents across our county I am repeatedly informed that their policing priority is more visibility of, and access to the police and the high regard many of our communities have for their local policing teams. I am therefor grateful that you acknowledge the importance of local policing and the pledge to boost police officer numbers in the local teams to 132, an increase of 75 since 2018.
However, I have been contacted by many residents who have serious concerns regarding the cuts to PCSO numbers, the closure of enquiry offices and the removal of the community safety team. While I fully understand it is your legal responsibility to balance the books, residents are concerned that the services these posts provided will no longer be available. For example, I recognise that footfall may be low in some police station enquiry offices, but can we be assured that all our residents in those areas affected will be able to access the police, particularly the vulnerable and elderly.
I would therefore request that the proposed changes you have announced be postponed until following the police and crime commissioner elections in May 2021. This will enable for an elected representative of the residents of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to scrutinise this decision on their behalf, ensuring they are in receipt of an effective and efficient police service meeting their needs.
Darryl Preston – Conservative Candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, May 2021 election