Village wardens are being mooted as a possible alternative to policing in the Pulborough area, which is currently without a permanent PCSO.
PCSO Tina Dunning left Horsham Neighbourhood Policing Team in February, and no replacement has been appointed to cover Pulborough, Thakeham, Ashington, Coldwaltham and West Chiltington.
The first duty of the police is to prevent crime. Can they prevent crime in Pulborough if they are sitting in Horsham?Lawrie Ellis
Peter Jones and Lawrie Ellis of Pulborough Local Action Team (LAT) said that policing in the village is ‘not good enough’, and raised concerns surrounding response times from Horsham-based officers.
However, they stressed that they do not blame Horsham police or the district commander, chief inspector Howard Hodges.
Mr Jones, chair of the group, said: “The police are drawn to Horsham town centre by the very nature of the fact that the number of policing incidents are greater, but that is not an excuse to provide inadequate service to Pulborough.
“We know times are tough but there are natural savings where the majority of the money goes, that does not compromise the safety of the public.
“It is not having a go at Howard Hodges, it is just not good enough.”
He added: “The parish council is discussing and looking at the possibility of wardens. I think they are a good idea because we have been let down by the level of policing.”
Mr Ellis, secretary of the LAT and a parish councillor, praised PCSO Dunning as ‘conscientious’ and ‘intelligent’.
He said: “The first duty of the police is to prevent crime. Can they prevent crime in Pulborough if they are sitting in Horsham?
“Wardens are looking and gaining knowledge which they would pass to the police, they are a deterrent.”
An email sent to residents by Horsham Neighbourhood Policing Team on behalf of CI Hodges noted that PCSO Dunning and PCSO Tom Slaughter, who had been responsible for the Steyning area, have left their posts.
It said: “At the present time we do not have permanent replacements to cover Tina’s areas of the district – Pulborough, Thakeham, Ashington, Coldwaltham and West Chiltington.
“Sussex Police is currently going through a comprehensive period of review under our target operating model (TOM) with the results due to be published later this month. Until we know the outcome of this review we are unable to allocate permanent PCSOs to these areas.
“In the interim the areas referred to above will be covered by other members of the neighbourhood policing team. This will include responding to incidents or concerns raised by the public as well as pro-active high visibility patrols.”
At an LAT meeting on Wednesday February 11, CI Hodges discussed the issue with residents.
The minutes of the meeting read: “The chairman explained to CI Hodges that this group firmly believes that there are insufficient police to offer what we believe to be an adequate number of police to provide a rapid enough response to emergencies.
“Whilst we realise that he, as the local commander, is doing the best he can with the resources available to him, we believe nonetheless that those resources to be inadequate to provide a proper level of response.”
Anyone with enquiries concerning Pulborough Local Acion Team can email firstname.lastname@example.org