Alliance Councillor Tom Campbell said that the recent announcement by the Chief Constable of plans to shelve the introduction of Police Community Support Officers and to reduce overtime working, would have a significant impact on the ability of the Police on the ground to respond to local needs.
Cllr Campbell said: “I am dismayed that promises to introduce Police Community Support Officers have not been honoured. Such a scheme was intended to soften the impact of the significant and tangible reductions in resources. On top of this, there are to be huge cuts in the number of full time Reserve officers. Many of these officers are deployed locally and play a very important role in helping to tackle crime and protect the vulnerable.
“With intended drastic cuts in overtime, I believe that there will be significant and possibly irreparable damage to community. The Police often talk about the need to reassure the community that all that can be done is being done to detect and prevent crime. I am not sure that such reassurances will carry much weight if these reductions in the level of service continue.”
Cllr Campbell concluded: “We are still in a situation where the community has to be reassured that the police can respond and be seen to respond to the many complaints like anti-social behaviour that blight our society. Additionally many communities are rightly concerned about an increased drug problem. Officers are required on the ground to meet this challenge and to prepare the ground for criminal investigations with a view to seizures and arrests of those involved in this evil trade.”