The public in Nottinghamshire is rallying around UNISON’s campaign to save local policing from massive cuts.
The union’s Nottinghamshire Police branch has secured 18,000 signatures, after just four weeks of street-signing events.
The success of the petition reflects the growing pressure on police and crime commissioner Paddy Tipping to step back from his plans to cut police community support officers by 25%, making 72 staff redundant.
UNISON is calling on him to hold a referendum on whether to increase council tax by £5 instead of making the cuts.
“This is a battle for the existence of local policing,” said Dave Ratchford, UNISON East Midlands regional head of police and justice.
“We are hearing over and over again of the experiences of ordinary people whose lives have been positively transformed and communities made safer by the presence of PCSOs.
“These people are asking us why the commissioner is not protecting local policing. We tell them that these cuts are being imposed by a remote government that doesn’t understand the local situation – which is why we are pushing the commissioner to put this to a referendum.
“And this is a referendum that 18,000 people in four weeks have told us they would vote ‘yes’ in.”
Local Labour MP Alan Meale has also supported the campaign.
Street signing events continue until the petition closes on Friday 10 July. It will then be presented to the commissioner, by a delegation of local politicians and people with personal stories of how PCSOs have improved their communities.
Mr Ratchford added: “We will press the commissioner to consider this and give the people of Nottinghamshire a voice in their local policing.
“We will also remind him that he was democratically elected on a promise to protect local policing and increase the numbers of PCSOs – not cut them by a quarter.”
Tweet your support for the #PCSOSOS to @unisonnottspol
Regional contacts: Dave Ratchford and Lesley Bailey