Village could become a victim of own success

Southwater PCSO Emma Atvarnieks leaving Southwater after three years.
Southwater PCSO Emma Atvarnieks leaving Southwater after three years.

Southwater is losing a community police officer in the same week the school holiday starts, leading to concern about a rise in crime.

Emma Atvarnieks has worked as a Police Community Support Officer in Southwater since January 2009 and in that time there has been a reduction in crime of 33.5%.

Emma has worked with PCSO Damian Cecil, making Southwater the only villages in the district with two PCSOs.

Although PC Darren Worsfold will be helping Damian with his duties when Emma leaves, Horsham district councillor Claire Vickers (Con Southwater) would like her to be replaced.

Mrs Vickers said: “The parish council and I agree that it would be much better to have two PCSOs. We don’t want to revert back to how it was before because we have done so well cutting crime down in Southwater since having two PCSOs.

“Emma has done a fantastic job and will be missed.”

Southwater Parish Council has asked Chief Inspector Sharon Parker that consideration be given to a replacement PCSO and Chief Inspector Parker has indicating that she hopes to hold talks with the Parish Council in the very near future.

A Southwater Parish Council spokesperson said: “Having worked tirelessly with Sussex Police and other partners over the last six years in reducing both crime and anti social behaviour, the Parish Council are concerned that with the decreasing

levels of crime and anti social behaviour and success of the Southwater project, that the community may yet again become a victim of its own success story.”

Emma, who will be taking on more communications related responsibilities, said she is sad to be leaving the village.

“I would like to say thank you very much for having me in Southwater. The people that live there are fantastic.

“They’re probably one of the most welcoming communities to go in to.”

The number of crimes reported has dropped from 263 in 2009/2010 to 175 in 2011/2012 .

“My main role has been to be visible,” explained Emma, “mainly around the school so we get to speak to the kids.

“One parent has said to me it’s great that I stand there because her child used to be scared of police but now they love the police.”