Council may pay to have its own PCSOs

A Ford Transit van

POLICE WARNING: £20 lock picks used to break into vans across Hampshire

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ALMOST £100,000 could be invested in three new PCSOs by a local authority.

East Hampshire District Council plans to fund the officers to work exclusively in the district – in addition to the 18 PCSOs already working their and funded by the police.

Their job will be to focus on specific problems identified by the council, including anti-social behaviour, drug-use, off-road driving and crimes such as the theft of garden machinery.

Council officers have recommended that the cabinet buys five automatic number plate recognition cameras, which would be used by the police in a second anti-crime initiative costing £61,000 over three years.

The initiative, thought to be among the first in the country, has been welcomed by Hampshire Chief Constable Andy Marsh.

Although the PCSOs will be managed by the police, the contract with the council will stipulate that they will only work in the district and will not be tasked to work outside it.

It follows a campaign by council leader Ferris Cowper to address community safety.

The cabinet will make a decision on the move on November 6.