Norfolk scraps PCSOs. Is this a trend that could spread?

Norfolk Constabulary is the first in the UK to announce that it is scrapping all 150 of its Police Community Support Officers - a strategy that will lead to savings of £1.6m and allow the recruitment of 81 police constables and 16 civilian support staff.

The post of PCSO was introduced 15 years ago to supplement police officers but they have limited powers and do not, for instance, have the power of police arrest.

Nevertheless as front line police officers have been diverted to other duties PCSOs have become a reassuring presence on the streets for many police forces and they have carved a valuable niche in community liaison.

Figures from the Home Office show that there were 10,213 PCSO employed in England & Wales at the end of March 2017. Other forces under the same pressures as Norfolk to identify budget cuts will undoubtedly be watching the Norfolk experiment closely.