WHILE I completely agree with Eric Waters’ point on the dangerous and damaging reduction in police officer numbers over the years (Sussex has had £57 million cut from its police budget since 2010), I disagree with his view on Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).

I’ll admit, though, to being sceptical about this initiative when it was first mooted but having worked face to face with them at times, they have proved to be an invaluable community and police resource many times over.

They get to know their local community in a way that a police officer simply cannot manage.

They are aware of the local trouble spots and also are familiar with local individuals or families who cause problems for their local communities.

They will call in the “cavalry”

when they need to and I have been involved in a number of issues of antisocial behaviour where they have been central to the problem being resolved.

The problem is, however, the PCSOs themselves have been the subject of drastic cutbacks. We used to have four PCSOs dedicated solely to Portslade until relatively recently.

We now have a “team” covering all of Hove and Portslade. They are good people but the arithmetic works against them.

One aspect of a civilised society is how it deals with crime and protects its citizens.

The PCSOs are very much the human face of policing along with their officer colleagues and it’s a tragedy that we now see them struggling under the weight of centrally imposed cutbacks.

Councillor Peter Atkinson North Portslade