Leiston gets new PCSO

A SUFFOLK councillor has told residents they have got a bargain by paying for a new police support officer at a cost of only �7 a household.

Richard Smith

A SUFFOLK councillor has told residents they have got a bargain by paying for a new police support officer at a cost of only �7 a household.

Leiston Town Council has decided to match fund a new Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) for �14,000 a year.

The town council was told the cost for council taxpayers would be �7 extra for a band D property. They already pay �150 a year towards policing in Suffolk.

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Leiston is the latest town in Suffolk to take advantage of an offer made by Suffolk police. The police authority has given an extra �310,000 for PCSOs and this would have paid for 10 of them.

But it was decided that the number could be doubled if local communities wanted to share the cost. The first wave of match funded PCSOs has been trained and they are now dealing with low-level crime.

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Trevor Hawkins, a Leiston town and district councillor, said: ''Here, we have a chance of seeing another PCSO based in Leiston. We should look very closely at it - �7 is a bargain.''

The council voted by a majority of four to buy a PCSO after they were given details by Leigh Jenkins, of Suffolk police's business liaison team.

Mr Jenkins said the PCSO would have three months' training and the town council would have a two-year contract at a total cost of �28,000.

He said: ''I can not dispute that you will be paying again for this resource, but we could have gone ahead with 10 PCSOs and placed them in the areas with high crime levels.

''The new PCSOs who are match-funded are ring fenced to the area which is funding that PCSO. This is clearly laid down, they will not be moved from that area and they will spend 80% of the time in visible policing and not in the office.''

But town councillor David Bailey was annoyed that householders were in effect paying twice for policing.

Cllr Bailey said: ''The policing we have at the moment is first class from our existing team and I have difficulty seeing the necessity to increase on that.

''All the things that a PCSO does can be dealt with by a police constable anyway, so we do not have to provide anybody else.''

He was supported by Councillor Bill Howard who said: ''We are already taxed for the service provided by the police. Now we have to pay �28,000 and in two years we will have to pay �28,000 or not have a PCSO.

''I am not sure this is an expense we should take on board - the police force should pay.''


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