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Reader Letter: Don’t ditch our PCSOs

A PCSO walking on Hunstanton beach. Picture: Ian Burt

A PCSO walking on Hunstanton beach. Picture: Ian Burt

Don’t ditch our PCSOs

I am amazed that the Police and Crime Commissioner, Lorne Green has said that if he had all the money in the world he would not hire more Police Community Support Officers.

The PCC role was never meant to be a rubber stamping job for the Chief Constable’s proposals. Neither was it a PR job for the constabulary.

Bring back the old Police Authority! I was a county councillor member for 10 years and I can guarantee we would not have taken this quietly.

There would have been alternative plans, debates, common sense and ultimately a consensus.

These budget proposals are the first serious test for our Norfolk PCC and he has failed abysmally.

There should have been an intensive rolling programme of public meetings throughout the county to hear what the public think about losing their PCSOs.

They are doing splendid work in our communities, tackling low-level crime and anti-social behaviour, visiting schools, carrying out crime prevention, sorting out neighbour disputes, attending parish council meetings, and supporting hard pressed police officers.

We are so far the only police force that is considering such a drastic response to these huge police budget cuts. We are seven years in on this endless “Age of the austerity programme 2010-?” Enough is enough.

It is not the time for Norfolk Police to spend money on bricks and mortar and plans to improve the surviving police stations.

We should be protecting our biggest assets - the staff. Instead we see plans for closing 7 police stations, and sacking 150 PCSOs

Norfolk County Council has a scrutiny role here, what is it doing?

Chief constables are understandably frantic to find more cuts.

They should act together and lobby the Home Office through their own Association of Chief Police Officers, and have some frank discussions with government.

Maybe our own chief constable could lead the way and say enough is enough. If we do not oppose the demise of PCSOs in Norfolk then it will surely spread nationally.

It’s one thing jumping on a bandwagon, but quite another for Norfolk to start one off.

SHEILA CULLINGHAM

North Norfolk Labour Party


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