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Police boss defends CSO recruitment drive
8:00am Tuesday 31st December 2013 in News
JOHN Dwyer has defended the decision to launch a recruitment drive at the same time nearly 100 police officers are due to be cut.
Cheshire Police and Crime Commisioner has authorised the recruitment of 15 community support officers.
The jobs are being offered despite Mr Dwyer already announcing plans to axe 97 regular police, as revealed in the Warrington Guardian.
He said the recruitment of CSOs had already been budgeted for, before frontline cuts were announced.
“We have a medium term financial strategy which sets our plans for the next three to four years,” said Mr Dwyer.
“Those plans include the recruitment of those CSOs during 2014.
“The key to this is planning for the future.
“Those plans are in place and give us the focus for everything we do.”
Mr Dwyer believes residents want to see the numbers of community officers maintained at the current level of 222 across the county.
“This recruitment program will allow us to do that,” said Mr Dwyer.
“In a recent survey, the public told us that they really appreciate the work that CSOs do in the community.
“They are a familiar face on the street and interact on a regular basis with people, building confidence in the police.
“This positive relationship encourages people to work with CSOs.”
Simon Roberts, chairman of Cheshire Police Federation, said he is more worried by overall cuts to staff.
He said: “The bigger concern is that the overall number of the force, CSOs and uniform officers, is in decline.
“The reality is that officers numbers aren’t going to increase in the short term.
“My reticence will come that if CSOs are given more powers, we are blurring the lines between there role and that of police officers.
“My concern would be if they were to replace police officer but that isn’t the case at the minute in Cheshire.
“As a neighbourhood officer my experience is people aren’t worried about the difference between a CSO and police officer.
“They want to see a uniform on the street.”
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