Police Community Support Officers are arguably more visible than regular counterparts when it comes to community policing and frontline issues.
But funding varies from locality to locality. I did a double take at Wyre Council’s figures with regard to the funding of 11 PCSOs to the tune of £1m. It’s calculated over several years and works out at a relatively low figure per officer. But Wyre makes the point that some authorities don’t contribute to the funding – and get more officers on the beat although their posts are supported wholly by police.
It’s not fair, says council leader Peter Gibson. But the proposed loss of funding means Wyre will be left with 13 police funded PCSOs (a pot of cash which has also shrunk) to patrol the biggest and most diverse borough on the Fylde coast.
Not only does it throw up the usual share of problems from towns, ranging from socially deprived to more affluent, along with juvenile nuisance and drug related issues, but Wyre presents all the challenges that go with a rural beat, where stations are few and far between (Knott End’s was one of the first to count on community volunteers to keep it open).
Rural crime may not be rife but it’s growing, out of towners heading in to make off with valuable farm vehicles and even livestock as well as poaching and general pilfering. And Wyre’s PCSOs have been crucial in the campaign to keep the wolves from the farm gates. Now 11 of them could find the wolf at their own door.
They say it’s a mistake to go back. My own former homes in Liverpool have long been flattened. I made the mistake of visiting the last, near Anfield, recently and found what still looked like a perfectly nice and rather grand turn of last century terrace mid-demolition.
Now Liverpool has offered to sell off 20 rundown pre-1919 “high density” terraced properties for a token £1 each in a pilot “homesteading” scheme.
Buyers are expected to reside there, without sub-letting (Blackpool’s Rachmans please take note) for five years and refurbish the properties to Decent Homes Standard in that time, meaning they must be in a reasonable state of repair, warm, weatherproof and relatively modern.
The 20-home pilot scheme is part of plans to bring 180 homes back into the use in areas which have fallen on harder times and from grace with all but those who were running them down further. Can’t help but think Blackpool should be watching what happens closely with a view to seeing whether some variation on that theme might apply here. It’s just a matter of dislodging some disreputable absentee landlords first. Liverpool’s had hundreds of inquiries already. They may also work with registered providers to refurbish homes and sell at discounted prices.
Welcome to Emirates Old Trafford. If diehard traidtionalists think selling the name rights out to a posh airline isn’t cricket – remember Sussex starts the season at the brightonandhovejobs.com County Ground. But what’s in a name? Wasn’t Blackpool FC’s Sir Stanley Matthews West Stand known as The Pricebusters Matthews Stand after its redevelopment?