Sidmouth concern over police cuts

PC Jim Tyrell told concerned town councillors on Monday: “I can’t promise you the world- its not going to be easy.”

POLICING levels in Sidmouth are ‘as good as they are going to get’ after a major constabulary shake-up, says the town’s neighbourhood beat manager.

PC Jim Tyrrell told concerned town councillors on Monday: “I can’t promise you the world - its not going to be easy.”

Devon and Cornwall Police underwent a major reorganisation on May 20 that saw the front office of Sidmouth’s police station shut.

And civic leaders said they’ll consider writing to the force’s Chief Constable over changes.

“A good number of officers moved stations for a good number of reasons,” said PC Tyrrell.

“Policing numbers in Sidmouth have changed somewhat to say the least.”

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He added that, while neighbourhood officer and PCSO team numbers have remained intact, response officers have ‘migrated’ from the town to to hubs in Exmouth, Honiton and Collumpton.

“Unless they are called to Sidmouth for a particular job they will not necessarily be in the Sidmouth area, or elsewhere, as much as you would like,” said PC Tyrrell.

“All things being equal, the cover you are getting is the best you’re going to get for the foreseeable future,” he told councillors, adding: “If you’ve got issues speak to the Chief Constable.

“Times have changed and that’s how it is at this time.”

PC Tyrrell said one of Sidmouth’s three PCSOs is on an extended leave of absence and another will soon be signed off for four months due to a pending back operation.

“We’re down to the bare bones as we are,” he added.

PC Tyrrell said plans were afoot to police Sidmouth FolkWeek accordingly. “It will be on the same scale as last year,” he said. “Additional officers (at FolkWeek) in this current climate, I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Councillors praised the good work and commitment of local officers but were unhappy with the effect nationwide cuts are having on town coverage.

“I do think you (police) are short staffed and this is how it’s going to be. I don’t think its good enough,” said Councillor Christine Drew.