Police pushing benefits of ‘Parish Constables’

The village bobby may be dead and forgotten but Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick is determined to introduce what he sees as the next best thing.

Mr Hardwick, speaking at a public meeting in Grantham last night (March 5), repeatedly pressed the case for parish councils to fund or joint-fund their own PCSO.

Mr Hardwick said: “We can’t ever bring back the ‘village bobby’ because nobody could afford to do that but I want a system in Lincolnshire, and I have the support of senior officers to do this, that will be as near as dammit to people of my age to the village bobby - a presence that is truly local and will be representative of Lincolnshire.”

The proposal also received the backing of Ch Insp Mark Housley.

He said: “I have said I am happy to have parish constables.

“Some people say they are happy to be a constable but don’t want to be in the town or dealing with drunks in the town centre on a Saturday night; they want to be in their own community, in their village and if people want to do that I’m happy.

“They will get my support and I will allow them to be dedicated to that locality.”

Whether any parish councils come forward with interest in having a “parish constable” and the increase in parish precept that will entail, remains to be seen but Mr Hardwick wants to speak to councillors about the opportunity.

He said: “It is something I’m hoping to get off the ground and the message is I’m more than happy to talk to parish councils about the possibility.”

Some speakers at the meeting said they were unhappy with the current coverage the force gives to rural areas with some saying they rarely see a PCSO.

Ch Insp Housley said: “If you want me to deploy to all rural areas it will be totally ineffective but you will see a PCSO every day.”