Hythe & Dibden ACSOs

Tories Slash ACSO Funding!

Local residents have told Hythe & Dibden Liberal Democrats the importance of community safety and value of the work of Lou and Norman, which is why the team were shocked when Tory run Hampshire County Council proposed to withdraw its support of all of its Accredited Community Safety Officers (ACSOs).  It was only the County Lib Dems who supported retaining the ACSOs.  Both the Hampshire Tories and UKIP supported the cuts.

At the District it was a similar story with neither the New Forest Tories nor UKIP councillors being in favour of stepping in to fill the funding gap left by the County.  In the end it was down to the local Hythe & Dibden Parish Council who voted in favour of finding the funds to ensure that Lou & Norman were able to continue their splendid work.

With the continuing problem of anti-social behaviour around the country and the increasing cost of front-line policing, police were more often than not to be found driving their cars dealing with crime rather than patrolling the “Beat” as in days of old. ¬†Although this was deemed an efficient use of their time by police chiefs, the public didn’t have the reassurance of the Beat Bobbies and so the idea of Police Community Support Officers was born. ¬†However, Hampshire County Council wanted to get the initiative started as soon as possible and so created a network of ACSOs, but within a relatively short time, the PCSO initiative started, along with the new non emergency crime hot-line “101.”

Cllr Malcolm Wade with ACSOs Lou & Norman
Cllr Malcolm Wade with ACSOs Lou & Norman

You may think that if there is now a network of PCSOs reporting directly to the police, why do we need ACSOs? ¬†That is a very good question, since logic would dictate that the existing ACSOs would be transferred to police administration under the auspices of the newly created “Democratically” elected Police and Crime Commissioner. ¬†Simon Hayes, an ex Tory and now Independent (Long story. ¬†Michael Mates, etc.) was elected to this position one dark November evening in 2012, but with little information about the election process given to the public, the turnout at around 15% was unsurprisingly low. ¬†On inspection of this year’s council tax bills that dropped through the letter boxes of Hampshire residents, you wil find that the police precept was increased by 1.99%. ¬†It was only the fact that the government introduced a cap on council tax rises of 2% that this police precept was not set at 3%. ¬†You may think the figure of 1.99% a little odd, but that was a way of instigating the maximum increase, but avoiding the cost of a referendum! ¬†Perhaps a more apt figure would have been 1.999%.

The Police were approached to see if they could take on the ACSOs into their network, but it was deemed unaffordable, which is how we end up with a small Liberal Democrat run parish council stepping in to do the right thing for its community.