‘Save our local hero’ appeal as PCSO cash axed

Gazette: ‘Save our local hero’ appeal as PCSO cash axed ‘Save our local hero’ appeal as PCSO cash axed

FUNDING to help parish and town councils pay for PCSOs has been axed.

Essex Police spends £550,000 on part-funding 35 PCSOs, with the councils footing the rest.

The force has withdrawn the agreement, deciding its resources will be better used to fully-fund the officers and decide where they are deployed.

It means some towns and villages will have fewer dedicated officers – if any.

Frinton and Walton Town Council, which part-funds eight PCSOs, has appealed for the police to keep its favourite officer, Rob Diss, in Frinton.

Mayor Iris Johnson said: “Rob works with youngsters and has built a great relationship with them. But it is very possible he could be moved.

“We know there are going to be some movements, and we won’t have this many PCSOs in future, but I’m very concerned at the idea of losing PCSO Diss. It would be very shortsighted to move someone from the schools when they have built up that trust. He is having a major impact by working closely with the children. If he sees himself moving on, we can’t stand in his way, but he is vital to this area.”

PCSO Diss, then a PC, won the Community Police Officer of the Year award in 2008 for the contribution he had made to residents in Frinton and Walton. He has been instrumental in setting up two youth action days.

Councillor Alec Moss said: “He is worth every penny. If he is moved, then years of work will go out the window. We would lose a generation of children and that would be unforgivable.

We need to kick up a storm to stop this happening.” The matchfunding agreement ends on March 31.

The council foots half of the £258,000 bill for eight officers. It will fully-fund four PCSOs instead, but police are unlikely to designate extra officers to the area.

  • Jordan Newell, chairman of Colchester Labour Party, accused Essex Police of using “smoke and mirrors” to make savings. He said: “Now they don’t have to fulfil a commitment to a council that has part-funded PCSOs, they can use those officers to backfill frontline cuts. Stanway is part-funding a PCSO, but when the agreement is stopped, it will have no control over the deployment, unless it fully funds an officer. This is a stepping stone to cutting frontline personnel in order to back-fill cuts the county is already suffering.”

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