Council officers with police powers to be scrapped in Hampshire

Salisbury Journal: ACSOs have the power to issue fines for littering ACSOs have the power to issue fines for littering

A BAND of county council officers who were issued with police powers and equipped with special vehicles and uniforms in the war against yobs are set to be scrapped.

After ten years of tackling underage drinkers, litter louts and graffiti artists, the 36-strong team of accredited community safety officers (ACSOs), face being cut as part of plans to slash £93m from the county council budget. Cllr Roy Perry said the work of the county’s ACSO service overlapped with the police community support officers (PCSOs), which were introduced later.

He said: “There will be no decision until January 24, and then it goes to full council on February 20, and I am scheduling a meeting with the police and crime commissioner well before then.

“However, we do face cuts in grant. I do not think it would be in the interests of your readers to raise council tax and we have services like libraries that are a statutory obligation and which we wish to protect.”

But police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes said hard-pressed Hampshire Police would miss the support of the ACSOs. He said: “If we are to maintain levels of public safety, Hampshire Constabulary will have no option than to absorb this loss imposed upon us by the county council withdrawing the service of ACSOs.”

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