Police Commissioner quizzed by councillors
The Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner, Lorne Green, was recently quizzed by councillors at a special meeting of the Norwich City Council Scrutiny Committee on Feb 11.
Committee chair and Lib Dem Eaton ward councillor, James Wright, used comments from local residents on safety and policing issues to highlight to the Commissioner issues that local residents have been facing, including anti-social behaviour, drug use, vandalism and lack of visible policing.
One Eaton resident had commented that "Drug problems getting out of hand. I may live in an area I feel safe, but where I work definitely isn't. Police and support service cuts can't be seen as unrelated."
Many residents have told local councillors that they miss the Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) who used to be very active in Eaton.
James reminded the commissioner that in 2017 he said if he had 'all the money in the world' he wouldn't employ more PCSOs.
The commissioner replied cutting PCSOs was not a decision of the Police and Crime Commissioner but a decision of the Chief Constable which was scrutinised by the PCC and supported. There are more uniformed officers that there were four years ago.
Cllr Wright commented, "Whilst we support the work of the neighbourhood policing team in Eaton, in many areas PCSOs were a known figure who could address some of the low-level ASB and provide a valuable deterrent presence in our neighbourhoods in a way that the serving officers do not."
He added, "With many of the comments that we get from residents being around a visible presence on the streets, I do wonder if the policy of cutting PCSOs has been a bit of an own goal? The public perception is that there are fewer 'Bobbies on the beat' than before, despite numbers saying the opposite."