After more than 20 vehicle break-ins in 12 hours R4U urges Police Commissioner to make good on commitment to hire more PCSOs

Following arrests after reportedly more than 20 vehicle break-ins in 12 hours, R4U is urging the Police Commissioner to deliver on on his commitment to hire additional PSCOs that have been funded by communities to keep them safe.

Police make arrests after spate of robberies

R4U’s Paul Fairhurst, who is also the Saffron Walden Mayor and a town and district councillor, said “First of all we should congratulate the police for the very rapid arrest of the suspects and recapture of many of the stolen items. Successive cuts have made the police’s job very difficult. In this latest criminal spree of many, while residents we’re enjoying the Late Night Christmas Shopping in Saffron Walden, these crooks clearly felt they could rob and burgle at will. From reports it seems that they broke in to more than 20 vehicles over a 12 hour period, including many vans owned by local businesses. It is not right that residents and businesses should feel concerned about their property every time they leave it.”

Doubling of crime since police cuts

Paul Fairhurst (R4U) Paul Fairhurst (R4U)

Cllr Fairhurst added “The unfortunate truth is that criminal gangs have become bolder since government cuts forced the removal of most of our night-time police to Braintree. At the recent public meeting in Dunmow the newly appointed Chief Constable said that he and the Police Commissioner agreed that the current police force size was unable to keep Essex safe – and the evidence, including the doubling of the crime rate since the cuts, seems to confirm this.”

Police Commissioner needs to deliver on PCSO commitment

Cllr Fairhurst concluded “Residents demand a change in local policing. R4U has been championing community-hired PCSOs to replace the withdrawn police, but the Police Commissioner has been slow to act even when he has money. Months ago the Saffron Walden Town Council agreed to fund local PSCOs which UDC has guaranteed to match-fund. His committed start dates have been missed several times. We urge the Police Commission to get on with hiring so that the police can try and prevent these crimes in the first place.”

R4U councillors Barbara Light and Paul Fairhurst outside the ex-police station in Saffron Walden that was closed by the Police Commissioner in 2017 and sold for housing development.

About Residents for Uttlesford

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) is the local independent party of north-west Essex towns and villages. Formed in 2014 by a number of residents’ groups, the party believes that on local issues residents should decide, not Westminster parties. R4U’s success has been based on the desire to give local people a voice and implement long range strategic and sustainable plans for their area.

R4U leads Uttlesford District Council (UDC). In its first election in 2015 it became the second party at UDC. In the May 2019 R4U took majority control of UDC by gaining two-thirds of the seats. Since then it has set about re-engineering the now award-winning council operates, rebuilding the finances and fixing how planning is done. In 2021 the party won half the Essex County Council seats in Uttlesford district.

R4U also leads Saffron Walden Town Council, where under its stewardship the council has rebuilt finances, invested in community assets, and won multiple awards, including the best run council in Essex. It is a minority party on Great Dunmow Town Council.

Residents for Uttlesford can be found on the web at