PCC to face vote over cut in PCSOs

Devon and Cornwall police and crime commissioner (PCC) Alison Hernandez has accused councillors of “naked politicking” as she faces a second vote of no confidence in two weeks.

Jul 17, 2017

Devon and Cornwall police and crime commissioner (PCC) Alison Hernandez has accused councillors of “naked politicking” as she faces a second vote of no confidence in two weeks. Liberal Democrat councillor Alistair Dewhirst will propose the vote at a Devon County Council meeting on Thursday (July 20). “Devon County Council is extremely alarmed at the proposal by the PCC, Alison Hernandez, to drastically reduce the number of Police and Community Support Officers (PCSOs), the eyes and ears of the force,” he will propose. In January, Devon and Cornwall Police Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer confirmed proposals for a reduction in the force’s 340 PCSOs by 190 over four years, backed by Ms Hernandez. However, Ms Hernandez insists that many of these officers will remain at the force in other roles. “The force’s detailed local connectivity plan will be agreed, and scrutinised rigorously, by me and my office,” she added. Ms Hernandez also accused the council of attempting to “score political points” against her, instead of discussing how to better support the police service while resources are tight. She said: “I am disappointed that, once again, naked politicking is taking attention away from what councillors should be discussing. “The chief constable has discussed his workforce plans on many occasions and I have made an extra £24 million available to him to increase the number of police officers by 100, as well as bring in dozens of new civilian investigators and telephone statement takers. “That means 1000’s of extra hours will be available for officers to be out on our streets to ensure that we remain one of the safest places in the country to live.” The previous vote of no confidence came after Ms Hernandez appeared on a BBC radio interview in June, in which she suggested gun owners could stop terror attacks. She said she was misinterpreted and denied advocating vigilante action. Labour-led Plymouth City Council said it was “extremely alarmed” at the “stupid and dangerous” comments, and called on the police and crime panel (PCP) to hold a vote of no confidence. On July 7, the PCP voted in Ms Hernandez’s favour by eight to two. “Once again, I repeat that I am not advocating the use of firearms or other weapons by members of the public in the event of a terrorist incident,” Ms Hernandez added. “As I have said many times previously the police instruction to ‘run, hide and tell’ is the appropriate action and that should be followed. I do not want to see armed vigilantes on our streets.”

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