The size of the police team covering Bradley Stoke is set to increase next month when a new Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) starts work.
South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) announced back in April that it was investing an additional £150,000 to “more than double the Council-funded uniformed police profile locally in response to concerns about community safety, anti-social behaviour and other forms of crime across the district”.
The money was to fund one additional PCSO for each of the the police teams in Filton, Kingswood, Bradley Stoke, Yate and Hanham.
The Journal understands that Bradley Stoke’s new PCSO has been undertaking training since mid-May and will be ready to join the beat team next month.
Further reinforcement of the local police team could take place after Avon and Somerset Police asked Bradley Stoke Town Council if they would like to part-fund a “dedicated” part-time police officer for the town.
The police have suggested that the Town Council might like to pay £12,500 p.a. towards the cost of employing former beat manager Claire Fletcher for 24 hours per week.
It is understood that WPC Fletcher has been on maternity leave and now wishes to return to work in a part-time role. The beat manager role in Bradley Stoke has since been taken on by PC Steven Palmer.
The Journal has also heard that there are plans to have the new “dedicated” police officer based at the town’s new Willow Brook shopping centre. The beat team previously had an office within Bradley Stoke Community School but that arrangement has since been ended, leaving the team to return to their original base at Filton Police Station.
Councillors responded favourably to the proposal at last week’s meeting of the Finance Committee, with Cllrs Robert Jones and Brian Hopkinson describing the offer as “a no brainer at this cost”. The extra money could easily be found from the Council’s reserves according to Cllr Jones.
Cllr Julian Barge however saw things differently, saying that he thought police funding should be the responsibility of central government. He also observed that as police cover is expected 24 hours a day, the quota of 24 hours per week represents only one full day in seven.
In the end Councillors agreed to the proposal “in principle” and further negotiations with the police will now take place.
Cllr Jones later commented:
“As recently as 2006 the local police team consisted of just a single constable before Jason [Green] joined the team later that year. If the plans discussed at finance on Wednesday come to fruition then we will have seen the number of police officers doubled and the number of PCSOs tripled since 2007 thanks to a positive partnership and increased funding from both councils [SGC and BSTC] and Avon and Somerset police.”
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