In 2016 a new enhanced PCSO role was introduced within Sussex which resulted in a more targeted and evidence based service being provided to our communities. This saw the role of the PCSOs deployed more flexibly, working together as problem solving teams and had an increased focus in crime and problem solving in the main policing hubs across the county drawing staff away from local geographic ownership and bespoke engagement.

At the time when this new role was introduced it was combined with the need to make a reduction in the number of PCSOs we had across the force as part of the overall Local Policing Model (LPM).

The LPM was created to provide an affordable, resilient model of local policing in Sussex with the aim to ensure policing services were effective regardless of the austerity measures which inevitably included shrinking numbers.

The reduction of PCSO numbers in 2016 to 196 was viewed as minimum numbers with the model being carefully designed to be scalable. In short, ensuring its inherent flexibility being one of its greatest strengths, allowing us to respond quickly to changing circumstances.

Moving forward to early 2018, the force found itself to be in a position of investment due to the precept increase proposed by Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, to include an extra 100 PCSOs by March 2020. This gave the force a genuine opportunity to rethink its plans to enhance local policing.

The new precept uplift signalled an exciting step change - an opportunity to strengthen key areas of the force to meet increasing demand and new challenges, while adhering to our priorities:  keeping people safe, protecting the vulnerable and responding to harm.

The way PCSOs will be deployed across Sussex will start to change from Monday 4 November.

The new way of working will give every PCSO responsibility for a defined geographic area and every community in Sussex will have a named PCSO over the coming months

PCSOs will be assigned a primary geographic area of responsibility, based on established Wards or Electoral Division boundaries. This decision complements on-going plans to strengthen local policing and also improve how the public can contact the police.

PCSOs working to dedicated areas will mean greater visible policing across every part of Sussex while continuing to form part of wider local prevention teams, ensuring finite police resources are focused on the most critical issues.

In addition to named PCSO across Sussex, we are also recruiting six new rural PCSOs. Three for West Sussex Division, two for East Sussex Division and one for Brighton and Hove Division. They will provide specialist support to rural communities and will all be in post within the next few months.

The rural PCSOs will have specialist training and this will enable them to recognise the specific crime types which can affect rural communities and the unique vulnerabilities of those who live and work in rural areas, both out in the community and through digital channels.

The PCSOs will also work closely with our partners and voluntary organisations to solve specific local issues.

The new posts are being recruited throughout the financial year with intakes of 18 in July 2019, 36 in September 2019, and 72 training over two intakes in January and March 2020 under the PCSO apprenticeship scheme. This means that communities will start to see and feel a difference as these roles are deployed to strengthen local policing.

With natural attrition the force should achieve the target of 296 PCSOs by March 2020, though the last cohort will be in training and not deployable until the end of next summer.

Local district email addresses will be used for the public to contact their named PCSO. 

A list of geographical areas and named PCSOs will be updated here from Monday 4 November.

FAQs

Is Sussex Police redesigning the PCSO role due to the precept increase?

The precept uplift last year was an opportunity to strengthen key areas of the force to meet increasing demand and new challenges, while adhering to our priorities:  keeping people safe, protecting the vulnerable and responding to harm.

As part of this uplift and in line with our rolling four year Transformation Strategy, the Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne has agreed to fund an additional 100 PCSOs taking the total number of PCSOs to 296.

Will the role be changing?

The way PCSOs will be deployed across Sussex will start to change from Monday 4 November.

The new way of working will give every PCSO responsibility for a defined geographic area. PCSOs will be assigned a primary geographic area of responsibility, based on established Ward or Electoral Division boundaries.

What will PCSOs do that is different?

The bolstering of PCSO numbers will help police, working with local communities, address low level issues before they can escalate into more serious crime as well as identify, and keep safe, the most vulnerable people in our communities.

The decision complements on-going plans to strengthen local policing and improve how the public can contact the police.

PCSOs working to dedicated areas will mean greater visible policing across every part of Sussex and is what the public has been asking for.

PCSOs will continue to form part of wider local prevention teams, ensuring finite police resources are focused on the most critical issues.

How many PCSOs will there be?

The new posts are being recruited throughout the financial year with intakes of 18 in July 2019, 36 in September 2019, and 72 training over two intakes in January and March 2020 under the PCSO apprenticeship scheme. This means that communities will start to see and feel a difference as these roles are deployed to strengthen local policing.

With natural attrition the force should achieve the target of 296 PCSOs by March 2020, though the last cohort will be in training and not deployable until the end of next summer.

The 100 new posts will be allocated according to the demand and severity data.

Will all areas have a named PCSO from 4 November?

We will be able to share the geographical areas that named PCSOs will cover on 4 November. All areas in Sussex will have a named PCSO and as we recruit and deploy the additional PCSOs we can reduce the size of the locations PCSOs have responsibility for based on demand and severity of incidents. PCSOs may have responsibility for more than one ward or electoral boundary

Will rural areas of Sussex have more PCSOs?

Six new rural PCSOs will provide specialist support to rural communities. Three in West Sussex, two in East Sussex and one in Brighton and Hove. The rural PCSOs will have specialist training and this will enable them to recognise the specific crime types which can affect rural communities and the unique vulnerabilities of those who live and work in rural areas, both out in the community and through digital channels.

The PCSOs will also work closely with our partners and voluntary organisations to solve specific local issues.

Are there plans to recruit more than six rural PCSOs?

It will be six initially and we will assess the impact and benefits of the role. All locations will have a geographic owner, these six PCSOs are ring fenced for rural, wildlife and heritage crime and are deployable across the force individually or as a group with three in West, two in East and one in B&H.

How will the rural crime PCSOs work together to address those issues that beset rural communities across Sussex?

They are dedicated rural PCSOs who are line managed centrally by the Rural Crime Sergeant and will respond to the identified issues building relationships with the rural community.         

How will local PCSOs be contacted?

Local district emails addresses will be used for the public to contact their named PCSO.

A list of geographical areas and where available named PCSOs will be on police.uk from Monday 4 November.

Local teams contact emails will not be a channel to report crime though and out of office messaging will explicitly state that. Reporting crime needs to be done online, by calling 101, or in an emergency always calling 999.

What will be the benefits to communities of the new model?

In Sussex our PCSOs are embedded within our Local Policing Prevention Teams. 

Their focus is on visible policing to prevent crime and disorder taking place, where it does occur ensuring a community based problem solving approach, and engaging with our communities so we can help people feel safe and protect those who are vulnerable

The enhancement of local ownership as part of the PCSO role will bring a greater understanding of local issues and the community, an increase in intelligence, early resolution of ASB and local disputes and improved trust and confidence in neighbourhood policing.

Along with the traditional foot patrol in areas where the community needs our support, our PCSOs are equipped to help solve neighbourhood issues, take statements, work with police officers and our partners to problem solve in the community.

Why is this happening now?

Moving forward to early 2018, the force found itself to be in a position of investment due to the precept increase proposed by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Katy Bourne. This gave the force a genuine opportunity to rethink plans to improve policing and the Chief Constable outlined how we would make the most of this investment and the increased benefits to the public

The PCC agreed to fund an additional 100 PCSOs with the precept money and within the last year we have delivered PCSO recruitment campaigns in March and August with a view of intakes of PCSOs in July and September 2019 and January and March 2020. This means that with an investment in PCSOs, communities will start to see and feel a difference as these roles are deployed to strengthen local policing.

Will PCSO be in all geographical areas from 4 November?

We will be able to share the geographical areas that named PCSOs will cover on 4 November. All areas in Sussex will have a named PCSO and as we recruit and deploy the additional PCSOs we can reduce the size of the locations PCSOs have responsibility for based on demand and severity of incidents. PCSOs may have responsibility for more than one ward or electoral boundary.

Is this not going back to way PCSOs worked before the Local Policing Model was introduced?

The local Policing Model aims to provide an affordable and resilient model of local policing in Sussex have not changed. It means that with investment, this new enhanced model is a ‘hybrid’ between a purely geographic deployment of all PCSOs and the current Local Policing Model (LPM) approach of central location and deployment based on demand. The investment means it will allow more time for public reassurance and engagement, addressing public concerns around police visibility.

Is there a shift in focus on the PCSO role from mainly problem solving to reassurance?

No the shift is to local ownership, gathering of intelligence and local knowledge of communities and their issues and then tackle them. It is about building trust and confidence.  

How does this investment impact the uplift in officers nationally?

The increase in PCSOs comes from the council tax precept. The investment in officers nationally will support and enhance any local financial investment in being able to tackle crime and increasing demand, by taking a more proactive and preventative approach.

How will we measure the success of the enhanced PCSO role?

Knowledge of local issues, local confidence surveys, tackling ASB and crime with local communities and gathering feedback for the PCSO and prevention teams.

When will the model be reviewed to see how well this is working?

After 6 months.