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Police to take on scores more special constables
SCORES of new special constables are going to be put on the streets by West Mercia Police to help fight crime.
The region’s deputy police and crime commissioner has admitted many residents are concerned about the lack of a “visible police presence”.
At the moment there are 316 special constables in the force area, but Barrie Sheldon wants it to reach at least 400.
The pledge forms part of commissioner Bill Longmore’s draft police and crime plan, which is currently out for public consultation.
Mr Sheldon said: “We have been getting feedback and one of the things we’re hearing is that people want more of a visible police presence on the streets. We reckon we can get that figure up to about 400 and that would make a difference.
“We are not saying the specials will ever replace the work of police constables by any means, but particularly in rural areas and outlying villages we want to improve visibility. It’s about getting people out and about so they are known in each local community.”
As your Worcester News first reported on Thursday, the plan includes cuts of 140 police officers across the force area by 2016, as well as 315 civilian jobs.
It also mentions beefing up the powers of police community support officers (PCSOs), so they can undertake more tasks such as fining people for littering. And it says a £1 million fund, which used to be handed to local authorities to run community safety partnerships, will be available to groups or individuals who can contribute to reducing crime.
Other targets include reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on the region’s roads, and solving more ‘hate crimes’.
The plan also says Mr Longmore aims to share and publicise more data on anti-social behaviour in a bid to increase awareness of the problem and bring incidents down.
The commissioner is consulting over a possible rise in council tax of £3.64 a year from April – a move which he says will help secure the jobs of 30 police constables beyond 2015.
The consultation runs until Friday, February 15, but opinions on council tax must be made by Monday January 28.
To get involved visit westmercia-pcc.gov.uk.