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Parish PCSO could get the chop
A VILLAGE‘S Police Community Support Officer could get the chop as it feared it is becoming too expensive for parishioners to pay half the £34,000 cost.
Dedham has had a PCSO on patrol for six years.
But the cost to the parish council has spiralled to £17,000, forcing it to reconsider whether it’s worth it.
Parish Council chairman Sheila Beeton said that was half the parish’s precept. She said: “The arrangement was the council would pay 50 per cent of the cost and that was in 2007.
“This is an issue of value for money because the actual responsibility of a PCSO is limited. The council, in this climate, has to consider whether it is getting value for money.”
The officer is provided by Essex Police Authority, with it paying the other half of the salary.
Mrs Beeton said when the new parish council was elected a year ago, the PCSO’s three-year contract was due for renewal.
But she said three was little “evaluation” data to demonstrate how effective the officer had been.
The new parish council was able to negotiate with the police authority and have the contract renewed for another year, instead of three.
That is nowdue for renewal and a councillor has compiled a report on how effective the PCSO has been in the past 12 months.
Dedham resident Steve White said villagers had reservations. He said: “The council is desperately looking for ways to cut expenditure as are borough and county councils, just as they are looking for ways to make money by introducing parking charges in Dedham.
“They don't see the negatives in this, such as the probable increase in street and nuisance parking.
“The parish council mooted the PCSO cut a few months ago. Its view was ‘we don’t have much crime in Dedham, so why do we need a PCSO'?
“They were rightly savaged for this by several residents who pointed out the council's flawed logic and that almost certainly the reason we don't have much crime is because we have a PCSO.”
! The parish council will meet on Monday, December 9, at 7.30pm, at the Duchy Barn, in Dedham High Street.
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