Retiring police Youth intervention officer will not be replaced as North Devon PCSOs are asked to go back to school
By North Devon Journal | Thursday, February 21, 2013, 07:30
A RETIRING police Youth Intervention Officer (YIO) will not be replaced.
NEWS: Inspector Tom Holmes.
Inspector Tom Holmes told North Devon Council's licensing committee the news on Tuesday morning.
He said it was currently Devon and Cornwall police policy to have just one or two YIOs in each force area, depending on size.
With North and West Devon covering a large area, the force has been left with just two, after the retirement of PC Graham Lees.
PC Mark Robart now covers North Devon and Torridge while another officer is based in Okehampton and covers West Devon.
YIOs typically spend time in schools educating children on the law, and delivering "common sense advice".
Mr Holmes told members of the committee the force planned to cover the loss of PC Lees by encouraging PCSOs to head into schools.
"Our PCSOs have good relationships with Ilfracombe Arts College, Pilton Community College and Park Community School," he said.
"So we're not withdrawing from engaging with youths, just looking for a new way to do it.
"We're not saying we won't fill the post in future, but this is how we will operate at a time when we have reducing numbers.
"We will have to use PCSOs to engage with schools."
And councillors seemed reassured by that message.
Committee chairman Joe Tucker said: "I think you have reassured us you won't be giving up on the schools and I think PCSOs coming on the scene will be good."
Frank Biederman agreed: "Our local PCSO has been into Fremington School on odd occasions and it's amazing the impact they have.
"My daughter comes home and says 'did you know this?' and I do think they have a bigger impact than a teacher telling children the same thing."
Malcolm Wilkinson said he was pleased to hear the "carpet won't be pulled out" from under schools.
Jeremy Yabsley said: "We often have issues in school tied to others outside and having a good relationship with the police helps."