Planned PCSO cuts ‘criminal’

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VILLAGERS have warned that reducing the number of PCSOs on our streets could lead to a rise in crime and anti-social behaviour.

Under current plans, Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) will slash their funding for community officers, which would lead to 47 PCSOs lost across the county.

Northampton Borough Council (NBC) is also pulling its funding and has urged the police to use its £21.7 million reserves to make up the shortfall.

But the police has ruled that out and wants both councils to reconsider their decision on funding before the plans are discussed next month.

At present NCC invests £500,000 per year in PCSOs while NBC spends £100,000 annually.

In the Daventry district both the town and most villages have community support officer cover, mostly funded by the police.

Vice chairman of Long Buckby Parish Council Alan Webb said: “I would be very sad to see our PCSO go if these funding cuts do go ahead.

“My personal opinion is that it would be a big loss to the village.

“These officers have got the local knowledge and know some of the youths that have caused problems in the past.

“Our PCSO has interacted with these youngsters and got them on board to be part of the community.

“She has also been working with youths to try and build a shelter on the recreation ground.

“Having a PCSO is just a great benefit to the village.”

Weedon parish councillor Sue Butler added that losing PCSOs would be “criminal”.

She said: “I do believe we would see a big difference in the village if we didn’t have a PCSO. The work that’s been done over the past few years really has made a difference.

“The PCSO has built up a relationship with people in the village and we have seen a reduction in anti-social behaviour.

“I think it’s similar for Braunston and Barby and it would be a major blow if funding was cut and we lost PCSOs.

“I think it’s a fair assumption that crime and anti-social behaviour will rise if PCSO numbers are reduced.

“They play such an important role in the community.”

Northamptonshire Police said its reserve money is already committed to other areas for capital spending, pensions, insurance, shared services investment or to support the revenue budget in future years

A Police Authority spokesman said: “The £21.7 million represents a forecast level of total reserves for the Authority.

“Unfortunately, using reserves as a one-off measure to fund ongoing PCSO salaries would not be prudent or sustainable.”

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