‘Are we getting what we are paying for?’

Councillors meeting members of the policing team last spring after a further year's funding was agreed
Councillors meeting members of the policing team last spring after a further year's funding was agreed

Town councillors werelast week quizzing police representatives over how the two additional PCSOs it part-funds are being deployed.

Two extra PCSOs, part-funded by Todmorden Town Council for several years as part of a Government scheme, have been praised for their work and calming effect they have.,

But some councillors and members of Todmorden Accident Prevention Council have expressed concerns they are not always being deployed in the town and have been seen less lately.

Last night police representatives were set to speak to the council’s general purposes committee about policing changes and councillors said they would also be tackled on the PCSO deployment issue.

Calderdale Police’s District Commander, Chief Superintendent Angela Williams, this week refuted suggestions there had been a reduction in policing in Todmorden, following concerns voiced by councillors and TAPC writing to the town council expressing its own anxiety.

Coun Margareta Holmstedt said: “We have been continually promised that the people we pay for, which is additional to the ordinary deployment, will not be moved.”

Coun David O’Neill, who had noted concerns raised by members of Todmorden Accident Prevention Council, said the council could vary amounts of money provided or not give any at all if members did not think the town was getting the benefit of what they were paying for.

“The people of Todmorden can rest assured we won’t be putting in the money if we are not getting the service,” he said.

Chief Supt Williams said: “I can strongly refute the allegation that there has been a reduction in policing in the Todmorden area. There are some new faces in the area and it takes time for new officers to build up the relationships enjoyed by former colleagues, but there are no reductions in numbers. In fact, moving forward, from March 17, our newly appointed Safer Neighbourhood Ward Officer, PC Ryan Stockton, will start his new role, which means he will be out patrolling Todmorden every shift.”

She said the team understood patrolling with a purpose is vital to the well-being of any community and that residents like to see officers out and about ‘on the beat’ as much as possible, but added that PCSOs could not just cover Todmorden.

“We do our utmost to understand where there are any areas of concern and to be there whenever we can. This ‘visible’ policing is a priority for the neighbourhood policing team that covers that area.

“Todmorden Town Council currently part funds two Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). This funding from an important partner is of course appreciated but it does not mean and cannot mean that the officers will only cover Todmorden.

“The Upper Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team covers a large geographical area and restricting officers from the team to just one part of it is not practical, possible or fair,” she said.