Aldwick residents fear police cuts will lead to more crime

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Cuts in community policing have been criticised by Aldwick residents.

They fear crimes will rise after a reduction from two police community support officers to sharing an officer with Pagham.

John Bass, a founder of the Willowhale Farm Residents’ Association, said: “We feel this is the wrong time for changes in the policing of Aldwick.

“The residents are very anxious and regard the decision as a backward step in modern-day policing.”

Vandalism was already blighting the area around the Aldwick Parish Council offices. “We are having problems with youths at night who cause problems at and around the community centre, library and parish council area,” said Mr Bass.

“When people use the community centre, a group of youths start by removing articles of clothing and gesturing in a crude manner.

“They also congregate around this area and local residents feel very threatened.”

Other problems typically included benches being moved, hanging planters being torn down and emptied on to paths.

The reduction in community cover for Aldwick and Pagham has occurred during a shake-up of neighbourhood policing teams for the Bognor area.

It will also see Felpham and Middleton share a PCSO instead of having separate officers.

The changes were also criticised by councillors on the Joint Western Arun Area Committee last week.

Cllr David Edwards said Felpham and Middleton had three police community support officers between them recently.

They had been reduced to just one – PCSO Clive Morge. “I am a bit concerned that PCSO Morge is going to be spread a bit too thin,” he said.

“Cycling from the back end of Elmer to the end of Felpham is going to take him a while. I accept there will be a ‘proper’ police response to ‘proper’ crimes but it’s a bit much.”

Cllr Trevor Bence, a district councillor for Pevensey, said: “The worry I have is the butter is spread so thinly we have got peoples’ lives at risk – both the committers of crime, the victims of crime and, indeed, police officers.”