County councillors raise concerns over the loss of police community support officers
Friday, 21 July 2017 1 Comment by Claire
Devon County councillors expressed their concern and opposition at the plans of Devon and Cornwall Police to phase out police community support officers, at yesterday’s full council meeting.
LibDem Alistair Dewhirst, had submitted a motion criticising the plans and proposing a vote of no confidence in Alison Hernandez, Devon and Cornwall’s Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner.
Back in March, it was announced by Alison Hernandez that the force were going to make a ‘significant reduction’ in the number of PCSOs after (ironically) finding £24m extra funding from reserves and increasing council tax.
I launched a petition to try and reverse this decision in March as Ottery’s own PCSO, Maria Clapp is highly valued by local people and sorts out a wide range of problems such as anti-social behaviour, parking issues, domestic incidents, drug problems and even runs cycling safety courses for children. She is a continual reassuring presence and she always carries out her role with willing professionalism. We work together on many issues.
Very sadly, Maria has now announced her resignation and will be leaving her role next week. It will leave a chasm in Ottery’s policing for sure and I will really miss her.
What is really important now is that there is a replacement PCSO for Ottery. We MUST have a PCSO that who can take action on the issues Maria took action on. I will be pursuing this in the coming days.
Back to yesterday’s council debate, I pointed out the irony of increasing the funds yet decreasing the staff. Also, there has been no consultation which is something Devon County Council would never get away with!
View the webcast here (agenda item 10) - https://devoncc.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/283676/start_time/7020000
I have to say that the response of the Conservative group was very disappointing. Several of the leadership team spoke and took a hard line. They appeared to dismiss our concerns. Despite Alison Hernandez announcing this in March, as per the above press release, it was impressed upon us that this was the sole decision of Sean Sawyer, the chief constable.
This is a red herring. Whoever’s idea it was and whoever is going to implement or took the decision, it is wrong to axe so many PCSOs and it is no justification either to say that they will simply reduce “naturally” as they leave. That is not natural, that is axing the role!
See the webcast here! Agenda item 10 - https://devoncc.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/283676/start_time/7020000