EHDC are, like everyone else in the community, concerned about crime. The Police are under pressure to work within budgets and currently there are 18 PCSO’s tasked to cover East Hants (in addition to the police officers we have). As a result the Police do need to prioritise and this means that some issues do not get followed up.
The reality is that we can have as much policing as we like to address and follow up on these issues if we are wiling to pay for it. Nothing is free.
Following a number of discussions between Chief Constable Andy Marsh and Cllr Feris Cowper, Leader at EHDC, it became apparent that EHDC could boost their resources to fight crime and this would be welcome. Importantly though these resources would be ring fenced to East Hants, and EHDC can direct their efforts through the local police to focus on specific problems identified by the council, including anti-social behaviour, drug-use, off-road driving and crimes such as the theft of garden machinery.
The three Police Community Support Officers, who will cost the council nearly £100,000 a year over the next three years, will be in addition to the 18 PCSOs currently assigned to the district. This works out at about £2.00 per home per year.
EHDC are also buying five Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras which would be used by the police in a second anti-crime initiative costing £61,000 over three years. This will increase the ability of the Police to track known offenders and provide evidence for prosecution.
The initiative, thought to be among the first in the country, will help to tackle issues including anti-social driving, vehicle crime, burglaries and rural theft. Between April 2013 and March 2014 there were 442 reports of fly-tipping, 160 reports of residential burglary, 462 reports of non residential burglary, 220 reports of theft from motor vehicles, 39 reports of vehicle theft and 386 reports of vehicle-related nuisance.
And, Yes, they will be seen in areas outside of Petersfield before anyone asks! As the scheme runs its 3 year course it will be monitored for effectiveness and then reviewed.