The BH Parish Council request to fund our own Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) was declined 'with regret' by Chief Superintendent O’Callaghan from Essex Police at their meeting on September 29th. The reasons given were due to the cut of PCSOs in Essex from 150 to 90 and the 26 he had been given for our area that includes Epping and Brentwood was now whittled to 10! However, the Parish has asked if self funding was not possible so this did not appear to be an adequate reason.
The necessity and on costs for training was given as an issue. Although Parish Councillor Smruti Patel asked if a newly made redundant PCSO could not be approached with this job, CS O’Callaghan explained that he felt that job security would not be sufficient. There appears, therefore, to be no route forward with the Parish's aims to provide this service.
CS O’Callaghan did continue to say that it does appear, and we should be glad, that the most common crimes committed in areas like BH are not the more prevalent or severe. He also referred to the increase in crimes committed on-line that are causing so much police investigative time. This was given as the reason why although our community charge for police has increased this year by 3.4% their presence has not.
CS O’Callaghan was asked to advise on strategies that the Parish and public could use in order to protect BH. He emphasised the need for crimes and public issues and concerns to be reported. The facility to now do this on-line www.essex.police.uk/do-it-online . This was recommended and indeed encouraged. A phone call to 101 is also possible. An immediate answer is not always possible but CS O’Callaghan assured those at the meeting that they are taken. He went on to emphasise that all on-line reports and calls made are collated and if a particular issue becomes a regular problem in an area then they are able to make it a priority.
Members of the public at the meeting raised the increase in the use of Nitrous Oxide or “Hippy Crack” in our village. The evidence being very obvious from the small silver tube like metal containers it comes in often found in piles. CS O’Callaghan re-emphasised the need to report it.
The frustrating problems of both speeding and parking were discussed and considered possibly rectifiable by road alterations and as these are not within the police control CS O’Callaghan was asked if the police could support the Parish in requests to Essex County Council. This does appear possible once reviews and research by the Parish were made.
The message clearly given is for the residents of Buckhurst Hill to report issues that we feel need police intervention or support. If we witness or are victims of crime they do require it reported in order to assess the need, in comparison to other areas, of their service. It will also help the Parish be aware of concerns if residents can work with their neighbours.