Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Anti-social behaviour officers retained in Basingstoke

Accredited Community Safety Officers
Image caption Basingstoke's council insisted the ACSO patrols helped reduce anti-social behaviour

Patrols aimed at preventing anti-social behaviour are to be retained in a Hampshire town, despite the county council voting to axe the service.

The paid Accredited Community Safety Officers (ACSOs) deal with issues like littering, graffiti or confiscating alcohol.

Funding was ended as part of Hampshire County Council's budget cuts.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has opted to pay £500,000 to employ 12 officers for the next four years.

The service, which was set up in 2004, cost Conservative-run Hampshire County Council £1.5m a year to maintain across the county.

Leader Roy Perry said the service had been "patchy".

"It was a luxury we enjoyed having and they did a good job.

"But there was only 30 for a county the size of Hampshire so not many people would have actually noticed them."

Basingstoke's council insisted the patrols had helped reduce anti-social behaviour in the borough by 13% in the past year.

Deputy leader Ranil Jayawardena said: "Often it's the case that a patrolling presence makes people feel safer and fear of crime is half the battle."

The roles are separate to Police Community Support Officers who are unaffected by the changes.

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