With police funding cut backs and the closing of Felixstowe Police Station the level of police presence in Felixstowe has become dire. Now the Town Council have decided to spend £68000 over two years to hire a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) from Suffolk Constabulary to put some sort of low level police presence back on the streets of our town.
In 2015 two PCSO’s were assigned to Felixstowe. Now it seems as though there are none available unless the Council coughs up the money to pay for them. But given that it’s tax payers money that’s funding this latest initiative – we seem in effect to be paying twice – since we already pay through our rates for police services as well as to support the Town Council.
So what will the new PCSO be doing? This is after all not a fully fledged Police Constable but a ‘Community Support Officer’.
One of the main issues that local people have is the widespread problem of illegal parking. Civil parking enforcement – where district councils will take over the role of on-street parking enforcement – has been delayed for two years, but the police commissioner has stated that there is just not the resources to cover low level enforcement as well as tackle the bigger problems like drug and cyber crime.
So the PCSO will tackle illegal parking and hand out fixed penalty tickets, as well as deal with low-level anti-social behaviour, and growing issues of begging and homelessness.
Councilor Steve Gallant is quoted as saying: “So as a town council we can either sit back and say that’s not our problem it’s for the police to sort out, or we can look at what the council’s priorities are. So we are asking the town council and good people of Felixstowe to put their hands in their pockets – some might say it is double pay because we pay for policing in our precept already and we are getting policing, but what we are not getting is parking enforcement.”
The PCSO will cost £34000 a year to work Monday to Sunday 8am – 6pm on a ‘standard shift pattern’ (whatever that means). So there still won’t be anybody about during the evenings. And any extra hours worked will be charged accordingly, including:
- Police vehicle if needed £3,300 per annum
- Plain Time. Additional hours after 6pm (end of core hours) and up to 7pm Monday to Friday – £17.62 per hour.
- Time & Half. Additional hours between the hours of 7pm and 7am Monday to Friday and weekend working – £26.43 per hour.
- Double Time. Bank holiday working – £35.24 per hour.