Saturday, 11 October 2014

Where Have All the PCSOs Gone?

A rare sight in Hedge End
Hedge End Town Council is getting worried. For many years the council has made a contribution towards the funding of PCSOs. That is £14,000 of Hedge End taxpayers' money in the current financial year.

In return the police should deploy two PCSOs in Hedge End and agree areas for them to patrol with the council. But that has not been happening.

When did you last see a PCSO in Hedge End?

Things came to a head in July when no PCSOs were available to attend an incident of anti-social behaviour at Hedge End's much loved children's paddling pool. Recently co-opted Lib Dem councillor Nathan Khan was disappointed to learn that two PCSOs had been allowed to take leave on the same day. As a result of Nathan's persistence, the current inspector at Hedge End police station came along to the September council meeting.

As is recorded in the minutes, members were not convinced that the public is getting value for money at the moment. Coalition cuts to police funding from central government have led to the front desk at Hedge End police station being closed to the public. Now it looks like our PCSOs are being used to plug gaps in police resource elsewhere. They are certainly not visible in the Hedge End community at the moment.

The debate continued at the October meeting of the Finance and Administration committee. The question was raised whether the Town Council should continue to fund PCSOs if they were not being deployed in Hedge End. The answer to that is clearly "no". The Town Council can only spend Hedge End taxpayers' money to the benefit of Hedge End.

Although it is not in the minutes, we were told at the meeting that West End and Botley parish councils have exactly the same concerns (and they make financial contributions to PCSOs too). If that is true where on earth are the police sending all our PCSOs?

Do you think Hedge End should be subsidising gaps in the police budget elsewhere in Hampshire? Let me know either by commenting here or by email to


  1. Clearly the answer is No! Perhaps the elusive local MP Mike Thornton should get involved, but I guess that's not likely!

  2. As above the anwer has got to be an emphatic no. Having requested a police presence back in the summer, a PCSO arrived, on a bicylce, three and a half hours after the criminal had absconded. Clearly he was called back from where ever he had been deployed (a long way from Hedge End). The opportunity to apprehend a felon was missed. We Hedge Enders are not protected or getting value for money from a wasted £14,000.

  3. A very unbalanced piece. You mention several times that Hedge End contribute £14,000 of taxpayers money. What you don't mention is that the starting salary for a PCSO in Hampshire is £18.909 according to the Hampshire Constabulary website. Add in recruitment, training (which is ongoing) and the contribution might not amount to half of the cost of one PCSO.
    Admittedly us taxpayers still deserve value for money but PCSO's like anyone else are entitled to rest days, annual leave, training days they will be absent due to illness etc. If there are two and one is on holiday for two weeks does that mean the other must work without a day off for two weeks, and cover the days and evenings. Be realistic and have some perspective.
    The incident with the paddling pool is a great shame, but no one was injured or died as a result.

  4. Can the writer above enlighten us - if the PCSO is on rest days/holiday/training/sick, how much cover does Hedge End actually get? Very little by the sound of it. I thought a contribution from all tax payers went towards funding this (almost non existent) service as well as that from Hedge End Town Council. Together, that must pay for more than half a PCSO, surely. A very unbalanced and biased piece !

  5. Forgive my naivety, but don't we taxpayers already pay a large amount of money each year to Hampshire Constabulary to provide a police service? So why are we paying again via the local council?

    Incidentally, what a massive con is this PCSO lark! When Blunkett introduced them, we were told they would not replace 'proper' police but would simply patrol the streets to help people - 'community support', geddit? Those of us who laughed cynically were correct: these quasi-police now drive around in police cars, performing many of the functions of the 'proper' police. See the example above, where a PCSO was despatched to apprehend criminals. That was not supposed to be their function.

    PCSOs were another con by our political masters to cover up their mismanagement of public safety.