I had wondered last month if Coalition cuts would affect the provision of Police Community Support Officers in Brighton and Hove as it seems nothing much is immune. I then thought, naiively of course, that they may be spared because they must be cheaper than ‘full powered’ coppers. I did not consider the yet cheaper alternative which is also in keeping with the ‘Big Society’ agenda: Special Constables. Or maybe the Government is thinking of using unemployed people to fulfil this role.
The area of Brighton I work in is deprived. It is a large council estate. There are some social problems in parts of it but there is a good sense of community too. The local CPSO, who I, and the vast majority of other workers and residents in the area know by face and name, is fantastic. She is locally based so she knows the area, she knows the residents, she knows when trouble is brewing and what to do about it. She listens and she cares. She comes into my Nursery and talks to the children about her job, emphasising her role as someone to trust and to come to for help. Her presence makes people feel safe and thus improves the quality of life of residents and workers in the area. The work she does, in conjunction with full-powered Police Officers helps keep trouble off the streets. She is a vital part of the community. I cannot see the sense in cutting posts like hers.
For Brighton and Hove residents reading this, please sign this e-petition: http://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=170 .