‘People aren’t going to feel safe without their PCSO’

Tarring PCSO Ben Cruise in 2014 handing a cheque Thomas A'Becket Infant School in 2014
Tarring PCSO Ben Cruise in 2014 handing a cheque Thomas A'Becket Infant School in 2014

WORRIES over the impact of ‘cutbacks’ to community policing have been raised after a neighbourhood watch group was told it was losing its PCSO.

Worthing borough councillor Norah Fisher said it was a ‘farce’ that Tarring’s PCSO Ben Cruise was no longer going to be able to attend their meetings and blamed national policies that were impacting on communities.

“It’s a ridiculous situation,” said the Liberal Democrat.

“He’s so friendly and so helpful but now we can’t be guaranteed that we’re going to be seeing him.”

She praised the work the police community support officer had carried out in the village since he was appointed.

“He’s been absolutely brilliant,” she said. “He’s been a great support to the local community. He’s well known and he’s always kept a high profile.”

Councillor Fisher said she wanted to know how many readers were aware that several areas in Worthing were losing their PCSOs.

“Due to cutbacks, several areas in Worthing are now losing their PCSOs who are also unable to attend neighbourhood watch meetings,” she said.

“In their infinite wisdom, the government have decided to cut back over 22,000 jobs in the police force.

“This leaves us with a situation where if you have a problem, you must either email, text, or phone 101.

“This is obviously not ideal when you’re being burgled, attacked or there is some serious incident taking place. In fact it’s quite farcical.”

As a village, Tarring’s residents liked to see their PCSO as quite ‘high profile’, according to councillor Fisher.

After being contact by the Herald, a spokesman from Sussex Police said: “As we move to implement the force’s new local policing model, aimed at making the force more effective and efficient at a time of continuing financial constraints, some changes to local policing are being made.

“PCSOs will still be available and committed to working in the local communities they serve, but we cannot guarantee that they will always be able to attend every local community meeting.”

He did say the force would always try to attend meetings where there was a specific need, adding anyone who wanted to disuss any specific concerns could contact their local police commander via 101sussex.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101.

Councillor Fisher added: “In these days of terrorism and things like that I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that on the one hand they’re saying there’s cutbacks and you can’t do this and that and then on the other hand re-employing people because of the terrorism. It seems ridiculous and such a waste of money. I think the main point is that people now aren’t going to feel safe without their PCSO.”

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