Recruitment drive to find new PCSOs for Norfolk

Norfolk police have launched a recruitment drive to find new police community support officers, because a number of them have stepped up to become fully-fledged police officers.

The force, which is making �25m of savings over four years, imposed a recruitment freeze in 2010, with Norfolk Police Authority stating the move would help reduce salary bills, with those who leave the constabulary not replaced.

And while the force is still not accepting external applications for police officers or special constables, it has emerged that because a number of PCSOs have moved to become police officers, vacancies have been created.

Norfolk police this week posted an advertisement to find new PCSOs, with posts available in Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Kings Lynn and West Norfolk, Breckland, North Norfolk, South Norfolk and Broadland.

PCSOs are not police officers, but are civilian members of police staff. They work alongside their police officer colleagues, mainly to help prevent anti-social behaviour. They do not have the power of arrest.

A spokeswoman for Norfolk police said: 'Our policing priorities for the next three years take account of the need to deliver savings while seeking to maintain frontline services.

'Our Safer Neighbourhood Teams are the foundation of the delivery of our policing service to local communities and will continue to be so.

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'PCSOs are an integral part of these teams and work alongside police constables and other colleagues to provide the high quality of service we are committed to delivering to the people of Norfolk.

'We will be maintaining the current numbers of PCSOs at 260 for the next three years and have set the budget accordingly. Current PCSO recruitment is to replace people leaving the role.'

She added the force was still not accepting 'any external applications' for police officer and special constabulary positions, but said that might change later in the year.

The new PCSO recruits will be restricted from applying for police officer and other police staff roles for two years from their date of joining.

Paul Ridgway, chairman of Norfolk Police Federation, said: 'The Federation's view is that the chief constable has done a marvellous job with the finances available to carry on with recruitment.'

More than 300 police officers joined a march in London this week to protest over future cuts and changes to pay and conditions the government wants to introduce.