Leighton-Linslade’s mayor claims the “voice of Leighton Buzzard has been heard”, as it’s announced three new PCSOs will be based in the town.
This coincides with the news that Sgt Andy Rivers will be permanently based in the station where the new bobbies will join the five existing PCSOs.
But Beds PCC, Olly Martins, admits the new officers are just replacements. Mr Martins said: “Unfortunately I am merely bringing the establishment up to where it is meant to be because people have been leaving.
“By 2015 I am having to lose a total of £22m out of a £100m police budget, I can’t increase the number of PCSOs and I can’t increase the number of police officers.”
However Councillor Amanda Dodwell credited the policing changes to the pressure of the police petition that received over 5,500 signatures.
Mrs Dodwell said: “I feel that the voice of Leighton Buzzard has had an effect and Mr Martins has had to listen to us. I am really pleased that we have extra police in the town, that’s fantastic.”
Chief Inspector Tania Coulson, who was promoted into her position in June and now oversees the community policing operation across Central Beds, said: “In all, we have six new PCSOs joining us across Central Beds – but we decided that with the size of Leighton Buzzard, we could increase the size of the existing team by three posts.
“Having eight PCSOs should make a real difference. I’d encourage everyone to stop and talk to them as they see them around the area so they can get to know their new patch and people really quickly.”
Jade Weller, Emma Ward and Jessica Bircher were joined by the existing Leighton Buzzard PCSOs and Chief Insp Coulson, Sgt Rivers and Insp Jim Hitch at the Market Square yesterday for their first day.
Emma said: “I’ve always wanted to be in the police so when the opportunity to join as a Police Community Support Officer came up I jumped at the chance.
“This is a great opportunity to do something positive for the community in Leighton Buzzard and I am really looking forward to the challenge ahead.”
Jade said: “I studied uniformed public services at college and I always saw the police as the career path that I wanted to take. I had applied and was accepted to be in the Specials, but when the chance presented itself to become a PCSO I decided this was the best route for me and I’m really excited about getting out of the classroom and on the beat.”
Jessica said: “I love communicating with people and I am really excited about getting on to the streets, speaking with the public and making an impact in Leighton Buzzard. It is a fantastic town and I think that we are all really looking forward to working with the public to make it a safer place to live and work.”
Emma, Jade and Jessica join brand new central Bedfordshire colleagues Lucy Burnell and Joseph Passby at Ampthill and Diane Howells at Houghton Regis, and other colleagues going to Luton and Bedford.