Clacton police station will remain open! Three cheers for that. UKIP, and Douglas Carswell in particular, has lead the fight to keep it open, though it is fair to say that this campaign has had broad-based support.
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Essex and the Chief Constable for Essex have now published their proposals for policing in Tendring in this flier; District – TENDRING 2015 10 . The highlights are:
- Clacton police station to remain open.
- Front counter of Harwich police station to close.
- 13 of the current 26 PCSOs will go.
Over the whole of Essex, PCSOs are being reduced from 250 to 60 and the police estate is being reduced from 25 stations open to the public to 10.
Clearly this is a significant reduction in the police presence. The proposal for Tendring states that the new Community Policing Team; “will not deal with low level non-policing matters such as long-term neighbourhood disputes, low level anti-social behaviour and parking issues, but will work alongside partners, for example the local authority and Community Safety Partnership, who will address these matters.” I am not aware that Tendring DC has plans, or resources, to pick up this responsibility.
It is clearly a good thing that Clacton Police station is no longer under threat. However, it has to be worrying that the Essex PCC, conservative Nick Alston, has been so invisible since he was elected back in 2012. On Wednesday 11th November 2015 he will make his first major public lecture since he was elected. His role is to represent the views of the people of Essex to the Authorities, especially the Essex Chief Constable and the Home Office. Instead he seems to have been captured by the machine and reduced to representing the views of the authorities to the people of Essex.
Given the level of opposition within Essex to these cuts, I would have expected Nick Alston to have reservations about these proposals. If he does, we do not know that they are. And that really is not good enough. Maybe he agrees privately, since he is not standing again at the next election in May 2016. That will be an opportunity to elect a PCC who will be more visible, and clear that their role is to represent us to the authorities, not the other way around.