Parish council to discuss PCSO funding
I was asked to produce a report on the meeting on 8 March, 2006, between North Mymms Parish Council and the police. This is my personal report and does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole council. Cllr Bob Horrocks.
Inspector Paul Hart showed a video on the role of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). Then he expanded on various points and discussed how North Mymms might get its own PCSO.
Introduced in 2003, they are uniformed civilian support officers. They are a high visibility uniformed foot patrol, providing reassurance to communities, gathering local intelligence, and assisting with the prevention of crime and disorder including anti-social behaviour.
Unlike a full police officer, the PCSO would not be taken away to help in major incidents such as the recent ‘Buncefield’ fire. The PCSO could patrol Gobions Open Space and issue spot fines for litter dropping, non-clearance of dog dirt etc.
The aim is to get 359 PCSOs in Hertfordshire with 60 funded externally by businesses, parish councils, etc. (Don’t ask for financial details - it is too complicated, like the Tax Credit systems).
North Mymms parish includes Brookmans Park, Welham Green, Bell Bar and parts of Little Heath and Colney Heath. If North Mymms could fund about £16,000 a year for two years a PCSO would be assigned to work solely in North Mymms parish. Insp. Hart was unable to say what would happen after two years when this Home Office subsidy ceases. My impression was that we would lose the PCSO.
This matter will be discussed at the next parish council meeting. £16,000 is about 10% of the £165,300 precept to be collected as part of our Council Tax for 2006/7. Most of it is already committed and my personal view is the contingency element cannot stand one large new expense like this.
The 50%-funding offer is for two years from whenever we might get a PCSO e.g. November 2006 to October 2008. The parish council discussion is likely to revolve around how it might fund a PCSO from the latter part of 2006/7 onwards.
One thing is certain - we will not get any more full police officers than we have now.
Cllr Bob Horrocks
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