I HAVE been asked recently about police constable and PCSO numbers in Brent.
I believe it is important to be open and honest about these things so I share my facts with you now.
At Brent we are currently slightly below our target strength of constables.
We are projected to be about 40 cops under strength in three months time. I stress, this is in three months time, not at this present time.
To address this, there are 500 new officers being trained across the Met.
I have been assured by New Scotland Yard that Brent will receive a significant number of new recruits to address our predicted shortfall in three months time. These new officers will become operational in June this year.
There will be a slight gap between being short of cops and getting recruits in.
As your Borough Commander I am paid to manage these situations and that is what I will do.
Regarding PCSOs, the Met aims to grow officer numbers to 32,320 by the end of the year.
To help achieve this, 1,200 PCSOs are being recruited to train as police constables.
This is an excellent way for us to retain PCSO skills, knowledge, and experience, plus it allows PCSOs to develop further, and put their abilities to even better use.
It also goes without saying that it is quicker and easier to train a PCSO to be a police officer than it is to start with a completely fresh recruit who might have no previous knowledge of police work. Obviously, this has an impact on PCSO numbers – but again we are not really losing these PCSOs, we are getting them straight back as cops.
So, where does this leave PCSO numbers? A targeted PCSO recruitment campaign was launched on February 24, but it does still leave a short-term transitional period before all the PCSOs, currently being training as police officers are replaced.
During that transition, Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs) are being treated as a priority across all boroughs, with PCSOs from other roles being used to help keep SNTs up to strength.
Within Brent borough, changes are made almost every week to one or more of our 21 wards, to make best use of the resources we do have. To simply sit back and not address areas of ‘small numbers’ is not an option that I will allow.
Although things are not easy at the moment, you can see we are doing all we can to make sure you get the service you rightly expect from us – the right people, in the right place, at the right time.
With all these changes and challenges, Brent still has the best detection rate for crime in the whole of London.
I attach here some key comments from the Assistant Commissioner of Borough Policing, Simon Byrne, which was sent this week to local authority chief executives across London. AC Simon Byrne said: “Many of you have raised your concerns over the recruitment of PCSOs as constables and the vacancies that this will create on some Safer Neighbourhood Teams in your Boroughs.
“I am pleased to announce that a recruitment process for PCSOs was launched online today (February 24). The closing date for applications is March 26 and the final selection process will take place between May and June 2012.
“Successful candidates will then embark upon an intensive training programme and will be posted to boroughs upon completion of the programme.”
I hope this good news reassures you and demonstrates our strong and continued commitment to visible neighbourhood policing.”