ON Wednesday night, the police and crime commissioner, Roger Hirst and two senior Essex police officers fielded questions at a Thurrock Council meeting.
Chadwell St Mary councillor, Russell Cherry has given us his impressions.
Cllr Cherry said: " I got the impression at Thurrock Council’s first full meeting under a Conservative-led administration that the inclusion of the Conservative PCC and two senior officers was to underline Conservative policing policy for the future for Essex and no doubt elsewhere in the country. Rob Gledhill the Conservative leader alluded to his 15 years service as a special constable when he praised the PCC after his delivery of his news about the future reliance on volunteer policing.
That is to rely more and more on frontline policing by Special Constables is not the way forward in most people’s opinion. The experienced constables are going to be required to become detectives investigating more and more offences that occur in the home such as domestic violence, child sexual exploitation and cyber crime where twenty officers will be earmarked to investigate fraud as a new initiative. CID will still also be investigating traditional crimes and these new additions to CID will not be replaced with regular officers. There is an increase in gang related activity and violent crime and anti social behaviour in Thurrock and a reliable police force not reliant on volunteers is essential.
Under Conservative leadership there has been cutbacks in funding, I hear stories of officers not getting the days off they are owed, high levels of sickness through stress and stress related conditions linked to under staffing and the rigours of the job. High numbers of officers on permanent sick leave or restricted duties doing inside jobs, cannot be pensioned off so they can be replaced with fit to police officers.
Grateful that I am that we have citizens prepared to volunteer to police our streets it is a fact that they cannot be relied upon to provide us the full service we need and pay for. With the closure of police stations in our towns we are now expected to accept increased policing by volunteers as the way for the future. With an increase in terrorism a cut back in armed officers and officers being prepared less and less to take up a firearm responsibility are we safe?
The Conservatives are not friends of the police and consequently put us all in danger.