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Cuts in new community police officers in Worcestershire criticised - Harriett Baldwin

28th January 2007

Harriett Baldwin, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for West Worcestershire today expressed concern at Government's decision to abandon a manifesto pledge to recruit 24,000 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) by March 2008.

This means that in the West Mercia area where the police had been planning for 388 PCSOs by March 2008, there will now only be 270. The cuts in funding mean that the Government has broken its manifesto pledge at the last election to "take CSO numbers up to 24,000".

This comes as the police levy on council tax across Worcestershire has soared by 194% since 1997, with further hikes expected this April. The Government has also recently shelved the planned nationwide roll-out of the 'non-emergency' version of 999, which would have allowed people to report low-level crimes, vandalism and anti-social behaviour to police and local councils via one simple telephone number.

Harriett Baldwin commented:

"People want to see a uniformed presence on their streets to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour and to provide reassurance to their community. This broken promise will mean fewer Police Community Support Officers in Worcestershire than originally planned, which is a serious loss.

"There is already a feeling that towns and villages in West Worcestershire don't receive enough local policing. People will ask why they are paying ever higher council tax bills - including a soaring police levy on council tax - when they don't get the services in return."

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