No more neighbourhood beat manager?

A DOCUMENT leaked to the Herald sheds doubt on the future of neighbourhood beat manager as a policing role.

The document, about local policing roles, states that there will no longer be a police officer and Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) for every neighbourhood as it is “unsustainable due to the current budgetary position”.

Local policing officers and PCSOs will have an “integral role” in ensuring that the force deals effectively with “harm, risk and vulnerability”.

PCSOs will be the main point of contact within communities.

“They will seek to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour through sound engagement and early diversion,” says the document. Where they come up against more complex issues, their supervisor will provide support.

Police officers will deal with the more complex problems, as directed by their line manager, as individuals or part of a team.

“Officers will need to be flexible, working within a larger geographic area,” the document states.

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They will adopt a “secondary responder” role, to support response in dealing with prompt and immediate demand.

“It is anticipated that response officers will be able to cover 90 per cent of the demand so the effect on local policing will be minimal,” says the document. “However, there will be occasions where local policing officers will have to divert from their shift tasks to deal with a prompt or immediate demand.”

A police spokesman said it was premature to comment on the issue.

“No decisions have been made as yet, and it’s too early to say it’s happening,” he said.

This news comes a week after it was announced front desks at 34 stations across Devon and Cornwall, including Sidmouth and Ottery, will close by June, to save the force �5.4m over the next four years.