- Security TWENTY
- Women in Security
A trade union campaign to save local policing from what are claimed to be massive cuts has seen Unison’s Nottinghamshire Police branch get 18,000 signatures, after just four weeks of street-signing events. Unison is calling on the county’s police and crime commissioner (PCC) Paddy Tipping to pull back from his plans to cut police community support officers by 25pc, making 72 staff redundant.
The union is calling on him to hold a referendum on whether to increase council tax by £5 instead of making the cuts. Dave Ratchford, the union’s East Midlands regional head of police and justice, called it ‘a battle for the existence of local policing’.
He said: “We are hearing over and over again of the experiences of ordinary people whose lives have been positively transformed and communities made safer by the presence of PCSOs.
“These people are asking us why the commissioner is not protecting local policing. We tell them that these cuts are being imposed by a remote government that doesn’t understand the local situation – which is why we are pushing the commissioner to put this to a referendum.
“And this is a referendum that 18,000 people in four weeks have told us they would vote ‘yes’ in.”
Local Labour MP Alan Meale has also supported the campaign. Street signing events continue until the petition closes on Friday, July 10. It will then be presented to the commissioner, by a delegation of local politicians and people with stories of how PCSOs have improved their communities.
Mr Ratchford added: “We will press the commissioner to consider this and give the people of Nottinghamshire a voice in their local policing. We will also remind him that he was democratically elected on a promise to protect local policing and increase the numbers of PCSOs – not cut them by a quarter.”
The PCC points to the county’s Police and Crime Plan, and how the force has continued to reorganise the way it works, to meet the challenges of financially-stretched times. This has meant pooling scarce resources, and thinking ‘collectively’ across policing and community safety. Paddy Tipping said: “In the face of further budget cuts we are doing everything we can maintain the number of officers, PCSOs and staff but disappointingly further rounds of recruitment are now on hold once again. However, recent changes to the way we work are delivering an effective police response to calls for assistance, and I am firmly focused on tackling the issues that people tell me matter most to them, where they live.”