Swaffham councillors hit out at police community officer funding proposal

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Police bosses have been accused of seeking to double tax residents through plans for communities to help fund community support officers.

Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett yesterday defended his proposal that town and parish councils could contribute 50 per cent of the cost of a PCSO in their areas.

The idea has been put forward in a bid to help protect frontline services amid continuing budget cuts.

But his comments came after the idea was angrily rejected by Swaffham town councillors during their first meeting of the new year on Wednesday night.

Paul Darby declared he was “101 per cent against” a programme he branded as “double taxation”, while David Wickerson suggested the idea of two bodies paying an officer’s wages could complicate staff relations.

Town clerk Richard Bishop said the plan could add up to three per cent to the town’s precept.

And Breckland district councillor Ian Sherwood said: “The police and crime commissioner continues to put up council tax.

“Now he’s asking you to pay for his police force.”

But Mr Bett yesterday insisted that all available options had to be examined.

He said: “This is part of the constabulary exploring all options to protect frontline policing in the face of huge financial pressure.

“We know how much communities value their officers so it is right that the force looks at every possibility and leaves no stone unturned .”