Steyning residents breathed a sigh of relief on Monday when it was announced the town will be finally allocated a new PCSO.
This follows an outcry from residents last week who claimed that crime had risen in the area after losing its previous PCSO, Tom Slaughter, in February.
We lost a couple of members of staff and it took a while to replace themClare McKnight
Steyning Parish Council chairman Phil Bowell said it was ‘fantastic’ to hear the news at Monday’s parish council meeting. “We were delighted that Tom Slaughter got his promotion, but there was obviously concern that they were not going to immediately replace him and that crime was creeping up,” he said.
The new PCSO Pete Outen will be covering Steyning, Ashurst and Bramber. He will also be responding to any concerns raised by the parish council.
Neighbourhood Policing Team inspector Clare McKnight said that it was never the team’s intention not to assign a new PCSO after Mr Slaughter’s departure.
“We just waited until there was a practical solution,” she said. “We lost a couple of members of staff and it took a while to replace them.
“Having a PCSO is useful for the community and it is also useful for the parish council to have a point of contact to deal with the day to day issues of the community, and local knowledge is an absolute premium.”
Mr Bowell said he was delighted to see the announcement from Mrs McKnight and extended his thanks to her.
Former parish council chairman and the current county councillor for Bramber Castle David Barling said: “I’m much relieved because this has been an ongoing issue in the town and causing considerable public disquiet.
“Therefore, I’m delighted that the police have reacted so quickly and appointed a new PCSO.”
Mrs McKnight added: “In the last three months there has been 35 crimes reported to the police for the Steyning area. This is 12 crimes less than this time last year. In the last year crime has continued to fall in Steyning by 24 crimes.”
New PCSO, Stewart Metcalfe, has been appointed to cover Upper Beeding.
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