Loss of PCSOs gets blame for spike in crime

Wyre has lost 11 PCSOs as a result of recent funding cuts.
Wyre has lost 11 PCSOs as a result of recent funding cuts.

A leading police officer has told how he believes the loss of 11 PCSOs across Wyre is a factor in the rise of certain crimes in Fleetwood.

Insp Steve Bell, Fleetwood-based geographic inspector for Wyre, says the police community support officers played a key role in helping to combat “low level” crime – and their withdrawal due to lack of funding has left a gap.

Shoplifting, purse theft, cycle thefts and criminal damage have risen 10 per cent in Fleetwood this year.

Coun Terry Rogers, executive PACT member for Wyre Council in Fleetwood, said he had been inundated by messages from worried residents

His comments follow recent damage to boats in Jubilee Quay, paint splashed on a wall on St Peter’s Place and a garden wall kicked down on Grange Road, coinciding with burglary and damage to five beach chalets last week.

Insp Bell stressed the rise in crime in Fleetwood needed to be seen in a wider context.

He said low level crime was at a record low last year and high level crime is falling in the port.

Across Wyre, while overall crime is up eight per cent – compared to a four per cent county-wide fall – domestic burglary is down 30 per cent and violent offences have dropped by one per cent.

However, he admitted: “PCSOs have been key in Fleetwood and Wyre when it comes to having a visible presence, deterrence and engagement with the community.”

Coun Rogers said: “We keep hearing about how crime across Lancashire has fallen but in Fleetwood there seems to have been a spike in certain types of crime and we need to know why.

Police working to tackle impact of funding cuts

Insp Steve Bell said: “This year we have lost 11 PCSOs in Wyre because funding came to an end.

“I want to reassure Fleetwood people we are doing all we can to resolve the crime issues as and when they arise, and are already successfully tackling the rise in shoplifting.”

The PCSOs were part-funded by Wyre Council until the deal ended in March, leaving 13 police-funded PCSOs across the borough.

Wyre said the deal, which cost £1m between 2006 and 2013, was no longer affordable.

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