CSOs `hijacked for Frinton'

A ROW about the introduction of community support officers in an Essex seaside town has been referred to a national watchdog.Harwich town councillor Gary Calver has alleged that Tendring District Council leader Terry Allen may have "hijacked" a scheme to provide community support officers (CSOs) for his own Frinton ward.

By Roddy Ashworth

A ROW about the introduction of community support officers in an Essex seaside town has been referred to a national watchdog.

Harwich town councillor Gary Calver has alleged that Tendring District Council leader Terry Allen may have "hijacked" a scheme to provide community support officers (CSOs) for his own Frinton ward.

After issuing a series of questions to the district's chief executive, John Hawkins, Mr Calver has decided to refer the matter to the Standards Board for England.


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However, Mr Allen denied the claims yesterday, saying that the local town council of which he is a member, had been pursuing the idea of community wardens for more than four years.

Earlier this year Frinton residents were balloted and voted in favour of paying around £10 extra on their council tax to finance CSOs to patrol the area.

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Mr Calver questioned whether other parish and town councils, such as his, had been advised of the scheme after Tendring District Council had been told about in July.

In a letter to the Standards Board, Mr Calver wrote: "I am concerned that councillor Allen may have sought to use this initiative to benefit his own Town Council's area (Frinton and Walton) by not revealing to the chief executive of Tendring District Council that this is a district-wide opportunity that can only be taken up by the district council and should, therefore, have been made known to all minor authorities within the district so they all had the same opportunity to participate."

Mr Calver, who has already called on Mr Allen to resign over the allegations, concluded by saying: "I would ask that you give this matter due consideration as, in my opinion, the behaviour of Councillor Allen has fallen well below the standard appropriate for an Executive leader of a district councillor."

However Mr Allen again refuted Mr Calver's claims.

"Mr Calver should do what Mr Calver thinks he should do. However, I brought the issue of community constables up at a town council level years ago.

"My campaign in the May local elections was based on having a survey on whether we should have CSOs.

"The first official news the district received about the possibility of CSOs was in July.

"Mr Calver has completely got hold of the wrong end of the stick. He seems to be on a one man crusade about nothing."

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