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burgess hill town councilTown Council Deny Holding Talks To Fund Their Own Law Enforcement In Burgess Hill

14th April 2016
by Peter Chapman

The Burgess Hill Town Council Leader and Mayor have come under fire after denying that they have been looking at paying £80k per year for their own law enforcement in the town.

At last night's annual town meeting at Cyprus Hall - attended by just 37 members of the public - local resident Chris French asked the council if it was true that they will be funding officers out of our council tax. The answer given was 'No'

Mr French then asked if there are any council documents detailing such discussions. Andrew Barrett-Miles responded with: ''No, that's what we pay our Police rates for" with Mayor Anne Jones adding.... "We've not even considered it, we shouldn't need to"

Oh dear, are you sure Cllr Jones?

A Big Meeting
The funny thing is that during 2015, a presentation was held by the Sussex Association of Local Councils (SALC) in association with the Sussex Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner entitled “Development of a versatile community presence”.

The Police will be needing to cut their budget by £56 million and the number of PCSO's will be slashed from 200 to 90. Alternative ways to still have a police presence in towns and how to fund them were discussed.

This presentation was attended by Burgess Hill Town Council CEO Steve Cridland and...... Mayor Anne Jones!!!!!

Councillors Briefing Note - April 17th, 2015
On April 17th 2015, a briefing note was sent to all the members of the council. It explained in great detail the financial implications on the council tax element to be paid by Burgess Hill residents if the council were to introduce a dedicated officer. Due to the significant rise in council tax needed to cover the costs, it was revealed that a referendum would need to be held at a cost of £15k.

Town Council Meeting - October 15th 2015

The Burgess Hill Town Council Community Engagement Key Area Group met on Thursday 15th October where one of the items on the agenda was the proposed new policing model.

The wording was: 'The Key Area Group is asked to consider whether the matter is worth investigating further, particularly from a financial perspective.'

But wait, Anne Jones claimed the council haven't even considered the matter! Anne Jones is a member of the Community Engagement Key Area Group and was in attendance at that meeting....considering it!

Speaking to Burgess Hill Uncovered after last night's annual town meeting, Chris French said:

"There is evidence in the form of Burgess Hill Town Council minutes from 2015, that support my question to Andrew Barrett Miles, that Burgess Hill Town Council have actually been considering paying for policing in the form of Community Wardens.

"For Conservative Councillors Andrew Barrett Miles & Anne Jones, to then both dismiss my question out of hand is nothing short of scandalous and just cause for an official complaint, which I will be making.

"In addition, the policing discussed by BHTC in the form of Community Wardens, will be answerable to BHTC. Heaven help us!

"However, of far more concern to me as a resident of Burgess Hill, is why is BHTC having to consider paying for its own policing? It is because of the cuts to policing imposed by the Conservative Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne. Perhaps the real reason why our Conservative Town Council were so quick to dismiss my question out of hand, is political.

"They do not want the people of Burgess Hill to be made aware of the impact of Katy Bourne’s 1,000 job cuts to Sussex Police over the next 4 years, just before next month’s Police & Crime Commissioner election on May 5th."

katy bourne sussex pccSussex Police Removing PCSOs From Burgess Hill
Under Sussex PCC Katy Bourne, the Police strategy is to be a preventative force and not a reactive one going forward. Yet they are going to pluck all the PCSOs from their local patches, pool them together and deploy them where there are issues in the county. Sounds very much like a 'reactive' way of working to your reporter.

All existing PCSOs have had to reapply for their jobs. The uptake has been so low for these altered roles that the force are now recuting externally to make up the numbers.

As it stands, we won't have dedicated PCSOs in Burgess Hill anymore which means no local knowledge gathering which could help prevent some crimes before they happen.

andrew barrett-milesTown Council Controlled Enforcement
To replace the PSCOs locally, Burgess Hill Town Council have been considering funding their own PCSOs paid for out of the town council element of the council tax.

Another option is to have a Town Warden. This would include paying the salary, uniform, equipment and for a vehicle. The cost is estimated to be around £80,000 per year, with local residents footing the bill. Sussex Police *could* part-fund the role for two years.

These wardens would have no policing powers and could be controlled by the Council CEO Steve Cridland and town council leader Andrew Barrett-Miles. It's a terrifying thought.

The Town Council agreed for CEO Steve Cridland to investigate further. None of this was mentioned yesterday evening. Why?

Spread the word! Burgess Hill Town Council could introduce their own 'Law' enforcement, and we'll have to pay more for it!

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Got an opinion on this story? Leave a comment below....
What do you think about the possible introduction of Town Wardens with no policing powers, Would they be worth £80k per year, paid for by local residents? Would you like Cllr Andrew Barrett-Miles controlling them? Why do you think BHTC were so keen to shut down questioning on the matter at the Annual Town Meeting?

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