Yorkshire police union boss urges Government to 'rebuild the whole police team'

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A Yorkshire police union boss is urging the Government to 'rebuild the whole police team' and invest in all areas of police forces.

Humberside Police Unison Branch Secretary Tony Green said that whilst he welcomes the Government's pledge to recruit an additional 20,000 police officers this will not alone solve the "deep seated problems that nearly 10 years of police cuts have caused".

Mr Green said: "Police officers are just one part of the whole team. That is why Unison is calling on the Government, the National Police Chief's Council and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners to rebuild the entire police workforce, not just part of."

Police staff, including PCSOs, account for 40 per cent of the police workforce. They include 999 call takers, crime scene investigators, detention officers and many more.

Official figures show that since 2010, there are now 42,500 fewer PCSOs, police staff and police officers working for forces in England and Wales.

Since 2016 the police staff workforce has increased by 4,500 employees. The police officer workforce has seen a much smaller increase of only 312 officers. But, the PCSO workforce has continued to contract with 1,004 fewer PCSOs today than there were in 2016.

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Mr Green said: "In the same way that recruiting 20,000 new hospital doctors will not cure more patients if they are not supported by more nurses, porters, radiographers etc, so 20,000 new police officers will not be able to patrol the beat and tackle more crime without corresponding investment in the police staff and PCSOs to work alongside them.

"In simple terms it takes four police staff to put six officers on the beat. Not enough police staff means less time for officers on the street, as they are tied up with paperwork back in the station.

Mr Green claims that workforce modernisation over the last 20 years has led to police staff doing many of the jobs previously undertaken by officers, thereby freeing up officers to tackle serious crime out on the streets.

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He added that the public won’t want to see new officers backfilling vacant police staff roles.

Mr Green said: "To be effective in cutting crime, the restoration of 20,000 police officers will require the recruitment of an additional 14,538 new police staff and 7,371 new PCSOs to replace those cut since 2010.

"This is a total of 22,000 new employees.

"Unison calls on the Home Office and the police service to rise to the challenge of restoring the entire police workforce to its 2010 level, not just part of it. We need to rebuild the whole police team."

A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said: “The substantial growth in police officer numbers is a generational opportunity that will ease the pressure on our people, help us to tackle crime and improve our diversity.

“We are leading a programme, working with the Home Office and College of Policing, to deliver this commitment. We will be considering additional police staff requirements as part of the programme.

“Our focus will be on attracting and retaining the best staff to serve the public and we will work closely with police staff associations to do this."

The Home Office has also been contacted for a statement.