The recent meeting of Uckfield Town Council considered a motion by the Mayor of Uckfield Cllr. Spike Mayhew.
This motion asked members to consider whether the Council should explore :
(i) public space protection orders;
(ii) security patrols
- Members raised a number of concerns with exploring the security patrols:
the cost to taxpayers/Town Council;
- if the Town Council became involved in managing such a contract, the Town Council could then be seen as the imposing force for handling crime and
anti-social behaviour rather than continue with its role in the community;
- what powers would these security officers have – if only information gathering to pass evidence to the Police, it would not have the desired impact;
- who would these security officers be accountable to and would there be effective information sharing between them and Sussex Police;
- at what point would the contract end?
- their presence could create a reduction in reporting by residents of issues, as they could feel the matter would have been seen/fixed;
- the importance of managing residents’ expectations.
Members expressed an interest in Public Space Protection Orders, but questioned how effective they were as they were civil orders. They also noted that such orders would need enforcing. One member did however note that these orders can take up to two years to put in place, so it might not assist with reducing the current issues experienced in the town with crime and anti-social behaviour.
Members acknowledged that the Police force were under enormous pressure and the pool of PCSO’s had been centralised. It was questioned whether more Specials could be recruited to assist with prevention and provide a community presence. Members recognised that Sussex Police had increased patrols in Uckfield Town and had carried out an incredible amount of work to assist the town. Members wondered whether a previously considered role such as a Community Warden would be more appropriate within Uckfield to reduce the fear of crime.
Members unanimously RESOLVED to:
(i) ask the Town Clerk to look into civil orders such as Public Space Protection
(ii) for the Town Council to reconsider the role of a Community Warden.
Source – minutes of meeting 24th June