A parish councillor has said Croxley Green Parish Council has been “short-changed” for years in its payments for two PCSOs.
At a council meeting on July 25, councillor Derek Wallington told the council that the Hertfordshire Constabulary had gone back on its promise to have two PCSOs patrolling Croxley Green.
Councillors have agreed to put a formal request to the force to claim compensation after they had left the parish with an “inferior service”.
In April 2018, Croxley Green Parish Council agreed to pay £29,000 – 10 per cent of its annual budget – towards two PCSOs to support the crime reduction in the village. However, in November that year, one of the PCSOs had been withdrawn and transferred elsewhere in Hertfordshire and the second PCSO also patrols Sarratt, breaching the contract.
Cllr Wallington said: “We have been short-changed for years because Steve – Croxley Green’s PCSO – is also the PCSO for Sarratt. We are sharing the officer that that we’re paying for and the chief constable has matched to give us our two.
“A few weeks ago, councillors spent an hour and a half discussing two firework companies on their value for money, safety and risk assessment and yet we just write a check out for £29,000 and not question why we are not receiving what it says on the contract.”
In the contract, Section 3.5 states that only in exceptional circumstances such as the Potters Bar rail disaster of 2002 will the PCSO be deployed anywhere else in Hertfordshire. The contract also says that Hertfordshire Constabulary will “adjust the invoice accordingly” in the event of a “prolonged abstraction” of the PCSOs.
Cllr Wallington added: “The constabulary have let the residents down. They took our money and have left us with an inferior PCSO service. I personally feel we have also let the residents down because for the last 10 months we have paid our money, £29,000 and we are not getting a visible foot patrolling officer.”
Three Rivers Chief Inspector Nick Lillitou said: “We acknowledge the situation in Croxley Green with the PCSO staffing and to help we have moved a trained PCSO from elsewhere into Croxley Green, starting on 1st July 2019, and to ensure continuity they will be remaining in the ward.
“Whilst we try to plan for staff leaving, there is inevitably a delay in replacing them due to the recruitment and training processes.
“The matters around the financial arrangements are something that we would need to discuss directly with the Parish Council.”