Town could pay for extra police support

A TOWN council has decided to spend up to £14,000 to ensure it has extra support for police officers covering Aldeburgh.

Richard Smith

A TOWN council has decided to spend up to £14,000 to ensure it has extra support for police officers covering Aldeburgh.

The money, which will come from the precept or reserves, will be spent by Aldeburgh town council on a police community support officer (PCSO) dedicated to Aldeburgh.

Crime in Aldeburgh rose 22% in August compared with the previous year and the town council is concerned about crime levels, anti social behaviour and traffic management in the town.

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Suffolk Constabulary's business liaison team told a meeting of the council's finance and general purposes committee that the PCSO would spend 80% of their time out of the office and on the streets of Aldeburgh. The job was “ring-fenced” and therefore the person would not be called away to help with other police investigations.

If the PCSO was not able to work because of sickness then the contracted hours would be honoured by Suffolk police.

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Their role will be to act as a traffic warden and they can seize drugs and alcohol. They can report motoring offences to police officers but the PCSO, who will work a 37-hour week, does not have powers of arrest.

Leigh Jenkins, of the business liaison team, told councillors the PCSO would be able to liaise with the town council and act on specific issues including anti-social behaviour, dog fouling and fly-tipping.

This would be a benefit for the police force because it would allow officers more time to deal with more serious matters.

T-J Haworth, a town councillor, said priority issues included under-age drinking and she added it would be useful if the PCSO could link up with teenagers, elderly people, schools and monitor play areas.

Suffolk Constabulary will pay for the training costs and then the town council will have to make a contribution to the salary from December or the next financial year.

Training will start soon for PCSOs and Aldeburgh could have its own PCSO in the New Year.

Marianne Fellowes, a town and district councillor, said: “There is no match-funded PCSO in Suffolk Coastal. It is slightly unchartered territory, a new product going forward, but I am sure it will work very effectively.”

However, Stephen Hawes, a town councillor, said residents already funded the police force through the council tax and he added: “I am dead against this. I feel it is another ploy by the public sector to get more money.”

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