Mid Suffolk District Council-funded PCSOs praised after issuing dozens of warnings, tickets and referrals
Two PSCOs funded by Mid Suffolk District Council have been hailed for their efforts after issuing dozens of speeding warnings, well over 200 parking tickets and more than 30 drug supply referrals.
In December Mid Suffolk pledged £149,200 to fund two PCSOs (police community support officers) for two years, to operate across the whole district.
The move was in response to concerns from residents and a drop in the number of PCSOs across the county as a result of belt-tightening police budgets.
During last week’s full council meeting, Inspector Shawn Wakeling revealed the two officers – Lizzie Porteous and Bill Butcher – had already issued 237 parking tickets, 25 parking advisory notices, 60 warning letters for speeding and 44 intelligence reports, 30 of which were in relation to county lines drug operations.
The pair had also carried out hours of patrols, school visits and response at community events.
Conservative councillor Barry Humphreys said: “It’s a real success story.
"In Stowmarket they are making a massive difference – they are visible, they are effective and, above all, they are really popular.”
The pair spend a week in rural areas and then a week in Stowmarket, which Insp Wakeling said 'maximises coverage in areas that have got a greater call for it like the urban areas, but it does mean those other outlying rural areas get services as well'.
He added: “It’s been great to have them working. I am really pleased with both of them – they take on a great deal of work.
“Speeding is obviously a big issue as well in terms of concerns for people and we have sent out in excess of 60 warning letters to people, which I think are quite impactful.
“Intelligence reports is one that is really important to us – especially in our bigger areas like Stowmarket, where we can have a bigger impact on county lines and drug dealing.”
The funding runs until the end of January 2021, but Julie Flatman, Conservative cabinet member for communities and housing, confirmed data would be assessed before the two years was up to decide whether to continue the scheme.
But Green councillor Keith Welham said a balance needed to be struck between Stowmarket and rural areas.
“It seems a lot of the time seems to be taken up in Stowmarket, which is good," said Cllr Welham.
“But we who are in the rural areas have got to be a bit careful because to most residents out in the sticks they don’t really care if there are parking problems in Stowmarket – they rarely go there.”
More by this authorJason Noble, Local Democracy Reporter