Haverhill principal’s plea to keep ‘valuable’ PCSO

Samuel Ward Academy principal Howard Lay with the school's first  PCSO Lee Woodward in 2012
Samuel Ward Academy principal Howard Lay with the school's first PCSO Lee Woodward in 2012
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A headteacher who part funds a police officer at his school was ‘disappointed’ this week to learn police cuts could see the ‘valuable’ post removed.

Howard Lay welcomed a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) to Samuel Ward Academy in September 2012 as part of a pioneering new partnership arrangement with Haverhill’s force.

He said the role was a ‘significant’ one and had proved ‘very useful’ to both police and the wider community.

But as part of the decision to remove 68 PCSO posts, as the force seeks to bridge a multi-million pound funding gap by April 2020, current arrangements with match-funded PCSOs are being reviewed.

In a letter to a host of Suffolk organisations and parish councils, temporary chief constable Gareth Wilson gave details of contracts police ‘will not be looking to renew’, including one at Samuel Ward.

Parish councils are being given the chance, however, to fund six PCSO posts, either fully or in collaboration with neighbouring councils, and a meeting is being held to discuss the opportunity in detail at Landmark House, Ipswich, at 6.30pm on Wednesday.

Mr Lay said losing the PCSO role would prove ‘incredibly detrimental’ and he hoped to be given the same opportunity as councils to fully fund it.

“It’s so useful I’m saying I’m willing to look at funding it myself across a number of schools,” he said.