Town council to explore funding PCSO in response to concern over crime

PUBLISHED: 08:29 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:11 09 February 2018

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Concern about crime has prompted Saffron Walden Town Council to explore the possibility of funding a dedicated PCSO for the town and the surrounding villages.

In November last year it was agreed by Saffron Walden Town Council to appoint a Saffron Walden PCSO, which would be part-funded by Uttlesford District Council (UDC).

Councillor Paul Fairhurst, who proposed the motion, said: “Crime figures seem to be getting worse each month rather than better. We recognise there is a problem and we will do something about it.”

The town council said the appointment of a PCSO would be conditional on the officer being active in Saffron Walden to ensure any agreement with Essex Police was appropriate and restricted the time when a PCSO was removed from duties in the area. The council noted that this did not necessarily seek to restrict any sharing of a PCSO amongst other parishes.

Councillor Howard Rolfe, leader of UDC, said it had been agreed to split the funding evenly on the basis that strictly defined villages outside of Saffron Walden would also be covered.

Cllr Rolfe said: “UDC is working with Saffron Walden, Great Dunmow and Stansted to get a jointly-funded PCSO for those communities and neighbouring communities.”

It is not known if the intention would be for those parishes to contribute proportionately to the funding or if the cost would be met on a 50/50 basis by UDC and Saffron Walden Town Council.

Cllr Fairhurst said: “Surrounding villages is an extra wrinkle to the issue. My opinion is this is not a problem necessarily. I think people in Chesterford are also entitled to police – at the meeting on Monday we will discuss whether parishes should contribute.”

He added: “If you don’t see police, you start losing faith. I think we are all on the same side, but there are questions. If I pay my taxes, I like to know I am protected from burglary and from harm.

“The government is in austerity mode but I don’t think quality of policing should suffer as a result.”

Chief Inspector Craig Carrington, District Commander for Braintree and Uttlesford, said: “We already have PCSOs funded by Uttlesford District Council working in partnership across the district tackling community issues raised by local communities.

“These officers are in addition to police resources and have contributed to significant successes, such as the recent recovery of thousands of pounds worth of equipment stolen from local golf clubs in Saffron Walden.

“Additional partnership work and resources are always welcome in keeping the communities we serve safe.

“Crime figures have risen in Uttlesford, reflecting a national trend, and understandably this will be something that residents will be very concerned by.

“Despite this, Uttlesford and Saffron Walden remain low crime areas, and are very safe places to live and work in.”

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