The number of police community support officers patrolling the streets of Rother is to be halved in a Sussex Police reshuffle.
Last week the force said it was opening recruitment for new PCSO roles, which will see them given greater powers.
But under the new scheme, the number of PCSOs covering Rother –Bexhill, Battle, Rye and all the surrounding villages – will be cut from 18 to just nine.
Wealden will also be hit hard, with its numbers dropping from 25 to 12.
But Hastings and Eastbourne will both see a boost in PCSO numbers, from 14 to 15 for each borough.
In total, PCSO numbers in East Sussex will be cut from 82 to 63 under the new role.
Current PCSOs have been given the opportunity to apply for the new role on a ‘priority basis’ before external recruitment is opened on Monday (April 4).
Yolanda Laybourne, chairman of the Bexhill Central Neighbourhood Police Panel, said: “We have been made aware of the proposed changes to the way that PCSOs will be operating within Rother in the future.
“In Bexhill Central Ward – which effectively covers the whole of the town centre, including Bexhill Railway Station – our neighbourhood police panel meets every three months and works closely with our PCSOs who cover Central Ward.
“Over time, we have built up an extremely positive working relationship which is very much valued by all parties with its mutual exchange of views and information.
“This includes the setting of three clear, relevant priorities for the following three months by mutual agreement at each of our panel meetings, and these three priorities are monitored to ensure that the panel always works well and efficiently.
“As chairman of this panel, I would echo my fellow members’ sentiments that we would be keen to see continuing support for our Central Ward PCSOs, for the very important role which they play in the town centre, and for our neighbourhood police panel.”
A spokeswoman for Sussex Police said: “In the new model, PCSOs will work across three teams, providing better coverage with an amended shift pattern.
“PCSOs will report to their line manager, who will be a police sergeant.
“They will, however, be deployed where they are needed, so will work across the whole of the district based on threat, risk, harm and vulnerability.
“Therefore, 24 PCSOs will be deployed across Hastings and Rother, and 39 deployed across Eastbourne, Lewes and Wealden according to demand.”
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