Torridge council leader criticises Police and Crime Commissioner

“A council leader from Devon has hit out at the area’s Police and Crime Commissioner over the “dramatic” reduction of PCSOs over the next four years.

More than half (190) of the region’s 340 Police and Community Support Officers (PCSOs) are to be lost in the next four years.

In their place, 100 new uniformed officers, 50 civilian investigators and 30 record takers will “re-connect” communities with the force, Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer announced in February. Torridge District Council leader Jane Whittaker has written to the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez.

In her letter Mrs Whittaker acknowledges the need for new police officers but worries about “how a district like Torridge will survive when these numbers are so reduced. In such a rural district as Torridge the impact of the reduction of our PCSOs will be dramatic,” said Mrs Whittaker.

“They are the regular presence in every sense in terms of visible policing in Torridge.

“As it is, their role is hugely stretched because of the size of the areas they look after, but, that said, they remain the only tangible presence whenever there is a need to deal with the varied number of, what to the Force are, smaller criminal incidents.

“What I wish to learn from you is how a district like Torridge will survive when these numbers are so reduced that there will simply be no lesser crime addressing/problem solving capacity available throughout a large area of the district.

She added: “Torridge is only just about surviving in this respect with the current numbers in place, reduce these and the landscape will be all but barren.”

Mrs Whittaker is awaiting a reply from Ms Hernandez.”