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Higher tax take but officer cut from Alcester police neighbourhood team

Ross Crawford 13th Apr, 2018 Updated: 17th Apr, 2018

AN officer has been cut from the Safer Neighbourhood Police Team covering the Alcester area.

It comes despite a £12 a year increase for householders in the Police Council Tax precept for Warwickshire.

The Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) post has been lost under a major re-organisation of Warwickshire Police’s shift pattern.

A similar change in shift pattern in neighbouring West Mercia has already raised alarm bells among officers in Redditch.

However Philip Seccombe, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire, said he hoped to recruit a replacement ‘within a year’.

Speaking on the Force’s change in shift pattern, he said: “The overall effect will be to have more officers on duty at peak demand times so that the service to the community will be better,” he said.

However the loss of an officer is sure to be felt.

With the Alcester North SNT covering Studley, Tanworth and Henley remaining stable, it means all of Stratford District will now be covered by just two Sergeants, seven Police Constables and 14 PCSOs.

Warwickshire Police has been struggling against dwindling resources and would have been facing an overall reduction of 70 officers without a substantial hike in the police precept.

PCC Seccombe held an online public poll on the issue and received resounding backing for a £12 a year hike in the precept, which duly went through.

This secured 50 jobs but still meant 20, spread across the county, will be lost.

Despite this Mr Seccombe remained upbeat: “This is just for the first year, and I am optimistic. I want to see the force grow up to 850 officers and from there to more than 900.

“We’ve already put an advert in for transferees from other forces to boost our numbers.”

He said to back up the SNTs, 10 new posts had been created in the roads units while the role of investigators would be protected, “delivering a more efficient and more effective Police force,” he said.

He also said the public had a vital role to play.

“I’m a big supporter of Neighbourhood Watch Schemes – also we know not all crimes are reported. The public has a huge part to play in helping us tackle crime,” he said.

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