ESSEX Police has announced it will defer its decision on cutting the number of PCSOs until next year.

A statement from the police said: “The decision has been taken following the police funding announcements made by the Chancellor in his autumn statement, and in view of the impending government announcement scheduled for December 18 of revised funding settlements for individual forces.

“The combination of these announcements are likely to mean the force still needs to find significant savings in the years to come.”

In October a formal consultation was launched on proposals to reduce the number of PCSOs to 60 by April.

Numbers have already been cut from 445 to 280 in recent years as the pressure on budgets has increased.

The number of PCSOs in Tendring was expected to be slashed from 26 to 13.

In Colchester a proposal was put forward to cut the number of PCSOs from 20 to six.

In Maldon the number of PCSOs was set to be cut to seven. There are currently 31 which serve the Maldon and Chelmsford areas.

Of the 26 PCSOs covering the Braintree and Uttlesford districts, only six were expected to survive the cull.

PCSOs have been sent a letter about the delay, and there has been consultation with Unison.