The first locally sponsored PCSO in Northamptonshire began duties in Daventry this week as part of a scheme developed by the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner which allows communities to pay for a PCSO that will be dedicated to their area.

Created to empower communities and further joint working initiatives between local partners and the police, the ‘Sponsor a PCSO programme’ runs in 12-month cycles and will see up to 12 new sponsored PCSOs operating across the county in areas where local organisations, such as parish councils and business districts, have opted to cover the full cost of the role.

Pictured (l-r) Daventry District PCSO Paul Harris, Daventry District Sponsored PCSO Mia Ball, Mayor of Daventry Lynne Taylor, PCC Stephen Mold, Daventry District PCSO Kirsten Bates, Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Swann and Daventry District Sergeant Sam Dobbs

While a number of organisations have in the past provided sponsorship for PCSOs, this scheme is different in that it guarantees the services of a sponsored officer within the geographic area of the sponsoring agency, rather than integration into a wider Neighbourhood Policing Team.

Sponsored PCSOs will work within their local policing teams and remain directly accountable to the local policing Sergeant. The local Sergeant will work with the sponsoring organisation to identify local priorities and meets with them on a regular basis to ensure the community’s needs are being met.

The scheme has no effect on the service a community receives from the core policing team – Sponsored PCSOs are designed to supplement and enhance the work of Northamptonshire Police in their specific area. Sponsored PCSOs would only be deployed to other duties in exceptional circumstances – for example, a major critical incident. Northamptonshire Police pays for all training, uniform and equipment for a sponsored PCSO – a sponsor simply covers their salary and on-costs, which totals £37,245.00 for 2018/19. All applications are assessed on a case by case basis.

Sponsored by Daventry Town Council, PCSO Mia Ball began work this week under the direction of Daventry and South Northants Neighbourhood Policing Team. PCSO Ball will be working collaboratively with the Town Council and its CCTV service, delivering a visible and reassuring presence to the town, as well as focusing on the community and local issues.

Stephen Mold, Police and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire, said:

“I’m proud that my Office has developed this innovative scheme to help empower local communities to increase policing resources. At a time when other counties in England and Wales have decided to reduce the use of PCSOs due to budget challenges, in Northamptonshire we have presented an alternative model that allows communities to contribute towards enhanced policing.

“I have been delighted by the response to this scheme from partners which will allow us to put more police on the street of the county, and I know that given the valuable work that PCSOs do, this will undoubtedly lead to a safer Northamptonshire.”

Cllr Lynne Taylor, Chairman and Mayor of Daventry, added:

“We are very fortunate in Daventry to have a low level of crime; however, we are not without pockets of anti-social behaviour. I have every confidence that the appointment of a new PCSO will act as a deterrent, as well as an encouraging provision to the local community, making Daventry an even safer place to live and work.”

Chris Hillery, Head of Local Policing, commented:

“PCSOs play a very important role within our policing model by working closely with their communities and local partners to identify and problem-solve local issues.

“We are very supportive of the Sponsor a PCSO programme which the OPCC has developed alongside the force because of its ability to enable greater partnership working that empowers local communities and supplements their core local policing team.  

“I wish our new PCSO in Daventry the best of luck in their new role and I look forward to seeing more PCSOs sponsored by other local organisations across Northamptonshire.”