The confirmation follows an investment in 100 extra PCSOs, secured through local funding by Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne – bringing the total number to 296.
Chief Constable Giles York said the decision will put ‘eyes and ears’ into every part of the county and give local people a direct point of contact for local policing issues and concerns.
“When we introduced the new local policing model three years ago, we said it would be scalable. Now, thanks to this additional investment, we’re in a position to strengthen local policing and we know this is what local communities want to see,” said Mr York.
“Our PCSOs do an incredible job, every day, working alongside their police officer colleagues to prevent and detect crime and tackle anti-social behaviour in our local communities.
“This change means communities will soon begin to see and feel the benefits of their investment as new PCSOs are deployed over the coming months, where they will provide a visible policing presence and be a point of contact for local policing issues.”
The change will take effect from November 4, when all existing PCSOs will adopt responsibility for a defined geographical area, and be rolled out over the coming months as the additional PCSOs are recruited and deployed.
It comes in addition to recent announcements on the recruitment of 379 additional police officers for the county over the next four years.
Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said:
“My focus groups and conversations with local people clearly show that the public want PCSOs back in their communities, forming that essential and reassuring link with police. Neighbourhood Policing needed modernising five years ago and that included giving PCSOs the necessary skills to help support police officers and investigations.
“Since then, Sussex Police have transformed the role of PCSOs by equipping them with more knowledge, skills and powers, but at the same time keeping the best of the old model where PCSOs were known in their local communities. I know that communities across the county will be delighted to hear Sussex Police are making their PCSOs more accessible and visible by increasing the numbers on our streets by 100 and providing a named PCSO for each ward area.”
PSCOs will continue to form part of wider local prevention teams, ensuring that finite police resources can be focused on the most critical issues.
The uplift in PCSOs includes six new rural PCSOs who will provide specialist support and advice to those in rural communities. The increase will help address some of the low level issues affecting communities, preventing the escalation of more serious crime and violence. The decision complements ongoing transformation plans by Sussex Police to strengthen local policing, modernise to respond to changing patterns of serious crime and the ways in which the public can contact the police.
These additional PCSO posts are being recruited throughout the financial year with intakes of 18 in July 2019, 36 in September 2019, 36 in January 2020 and 36 in March 2020 under the PCSO apprenticeship scheme.
The 100 new posts will be allocated based on demand with details available locally and at www.sussex.police.uk from November 4.