PCSO numbers down by more than half from numbers that previously looked after Fenland town, councillors told

Children at Cavalry Primary School hand out parking posters with a PCSO Rachael Cheverton.

Children at Cavalry Primary School hand out parking posters with a PCSO Rachael Cheverton. - Credit: Archant

A SURVEY last year revealed one in four of us have never seen a policeman on the beat- but now March mayor Jan French says that’s true of police community support officers.

“We don’t feel the town is getting the cover we used to,” she told Monday’s town council might. “We never seem to see PCSOs out and about as before. There used to be 10 in town but not any longer”

PCSO Dawn Ray, giving the Cambs police monthly report, explained that numbers have dropped considerably over the years.

She explained that March had the equivalent of 4.5 PCSOs and Chatteris had 2 and although this number would not drop in the coming year it was unclear what the future held.

PCSO Ray said a recent meeting with police and the crime commissioner Sir Graham Bright had been told of his review now under way to determine the numbers needed and effectiveness of their role.

She said that when March area had 10 PCSOs each had their own patch but no longer and with shift patterns often only one, and sometimes not that, was available.

PCSO Ray said the town was much safer because of their work, referring to a time when “eight years ago we had kids playing football in the town centre. Today can safely walk the streets because of our hard work.”

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She added: “We can’t go lower than four of us.”

Councillor Trevor Quince queried problems of cars parking unsafely to collect children from town schools and he wondered why caretakers could not be asked to put out cones.

“They’re not enforceable unless a police officer puts them out,” said PCSO Ray. “We tried it at All Saints once with a lollipop man but parents knew he put them out and were not enforceable.”

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