RESIDENTS of Northampton will be ‘too scared to leave their homes’ if the number of Police Community Support Officers serving in the town is reduced, the leaders of Northampton Borough Council have been warned.
Before Christmas, the leaders of the council announced plans to scrap the £100,000 the authority pays each year to provide PCSOs in the town.
During a meeting of the council last night, St James resident Graham Croucher warned that if the plan was followed through, it would leave residents too terrified to go out at night.
He said: “The PCSOs do a fantastic job in our area. If you withdraw the funding for them we’ll end up with a cesspool of crime and violence on our streets.
“Our residents are scared about what’s going to happen and if you’ve got any conscience, you’ll think very carefully about this.”
He was backed by both Labour and Liberal Democrat opposition members on the council who opposed the planned cut.
Councillor Terry Wire (Lab, St James) said: “The public are against this move and I think it’s appalling.
“The people of Northampton have no confidence in what you’re going to do and I think it’s the wrong move. It’s an appalling decision.”
Councillor Brendan Glynane (Lib Dem, Delapre & Briar Hill) added: “The people of Northampton know this is wrong and they know they can’t trust the Conservatives any more when it comes to public safety.”
But the Conservative leaders of the council said that difficult decisions had to be made about the council’s finances and argued it was the police’s job to fund PCSOs, rather than the councils.
The leader of the authority, Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm) also repeated calls he has made over the past few weeks for the police to fund the PCSO posts from their savings.
He said: “None of us stood for council to make difficult decisions like these, but they come with the responsibility of taking office and we have to balance the council’s books.
“The police authority has an underspend of £2.7 million and they should be looking at funding policing.”
Final decisions on both the police and council budget plans will be made next month.