DCSIMG

PCSO reduction fears

Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw talks to a Police Community Support Officer and Police Officer

Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw talks to a Police Community Support Officer and Police Officer

FEARS have been raised about crime in Over Wyre after changes to policing meant fewer officers are on the beat.

A reduction of officers covering Preesall, Pilling and Hambleton means there will only be one full time officer and one voluntary Police and Community Support Officers (PCSO) covering the area.

This has caused alarm in the towns where community leaders say they have worked closely with the officers to tackle crime and support victims.

Jan Finch, clerk of Preesall and Stalmine Parish Council, told The Gazette: “Both councils have expressed concern about the reduction of staff in Over Wyre because they are a great support to the community and the loss will be felt.

“Given the high population of elderly people, the police presence on the streets was very reassuring and they provided a deterrent.”

Coun Gordon McCann, Preesall ward councillor at Wyre Council, added: “Any move to cut PCSOs will be a retrograde step.

“They have done a very good job in showing their presence on the street and in the area and when they report to Preesall Town Council they’ve been very thorough and professional.

“I would hope the reduction of PCSOs doesn’t affect Preesall.

“We meet with them every month and it improves the dialogue between the police and ourselves because they can get concerns direct from the public and act on them straight away.”

Wyre Council leader Coun Peter Gibson said resources should be spent on ensuring officers were available on the beat.

He added: “My view is that if the police are short of funding then scarce resources should be concentrated on the front line.”

Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I have said to local council leaders, to help them plan their budgets, that I will commit the match funding needed to keep the joint funded PCSOs in communities.

“I appreciate the support Wyre Council has given the constabulary in part funding PCSO posts and I sincerely hope they continue to do so.”

A spokeswoman for Lancashire Police said: “One of the PCSOs was successful in her application to become a police officer and this position is currently vacant.

“The area is also policed by response officers who answer emergency calls and these are supported by specialist officers who cover a number of different disciplines.”

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