By Tristan Harris Tuesday 22 October 2013 Updated: 24/10 00:32
RESIDENTS on Bromsgrove's Oakalls estate have expressed concerns about the future of local policing in their area after changes were brought in across West Mercia.
Those living on the estate are also upset at losing Community Support Officer John Tilt who, they say, was their neighbourhood's friendly face of local policing.
They added PCSO Tilt, who regularly visited the estate and was passionate about improving the area, would be sadly missed.
Parklands resident Sarah Rees said: “John has been patrolling the Oakalls estate and surrounding area for at least five years and was actively involved in the regular PACT (police and communities together) meetings.
"He was always happy to engage with people and worked closely with residents, the police and ward councillors to address any issues of concern.
"I fear we have lost that close, local level of support from someone who knew the area and its nuances extremely well.”
Residents are also worried that because they seem to have been included in a larger area, there will be less of a personal police presence in general.
Coun Caroline Spencer said while she appreciated, like many other private and Government sectors, re-organisation was needed to make savings, she felt the new local policing structure would sadly impact on local communities.
"The PCSO played a vital community role within the Local Policing Team within each of the areas of Bromsgrove and the districts.
"I feel through this restructuring residents in local communities will not see as regularly as before their Community Support Officers patrolling the area, and this will be sorely missed by residents within the communities."
The Oakalls and the Slideslow area is now part of Bromsgrove South and Rural Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT), which also covers Stoke Prior, Stoke Heath, Charford, Whitford and Tardebigge.
The SNT has a dedicated safer neighbourhood sergeant and constable, Sgt Louise Meeson and PC Greg Moorman, along with three PCSOs and three dedicated special constables.
Insp Sharron Cannings of West Mercia Police said it was pleasing to see how popular PCSO John Tilt was with Oakalls residents.
"John has now left the force, but the Safer Neighbourhood Team still has three PCSOs, with the arrival of Sue White, who was previously at Hagley.
"Sue is a very experienced PCSO and is looking forward to working as part of Bromsgrove South and Rural.
“As part of our alliance with Warwickshire Police and moving to our new policing model, our PCSOs have extended their working hours and powers.
"They can now work until midnight and their additional powers mean they can seize drugs and deal with obstruction offences, among others.
“Residents will continue to see regular high visibility patrols."
She added the new mobile tablet devices used by officers enabled them to remotely access information and complete paperwork on the go which meant they could spend more time out and about in their communities.
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