Thousands of pounds of funding to help pay for Witham’s Community Support Officers has been axed.

Essex Police has scrapped its agreement with Witham Town Council to jointly fund two PCSOs of the town’s eight PCSOs.

Countywide there are 35 match funded PCSOs but from March 31 all contracts with local authorities will end.

The force has stressed there will be no redundancies but it is understood the match funded PCSOs will instead fill the vacant posts across the county.

Witham Town Council begin part funding PCSO Jacqui Bardsley in 2007 and gave the go ahead for another match funding arrangement a year later.

The annual cost to the town council has risen by about £2,000 from about £15,000 per PCSO in the last seven years.

Witham town council leader Michael Lager was “peeved” that they had not been told of the changes prior to Monday’s announcement and said £34,000 had already been provisionally earmarked for PCSOs next year.

He said: “It is fairly rare to see a uniformed police officer around, although at a distance you can’t always tell the difference between a PC and a PCSO.

“I think there will be a loss of visible presence which will be a pity as they do a good job in liaising with the community.”

He added that the town council were going to discuss the payments for the PCSO in light of the drop in crime and anti-social behaviour.

Essex Police has refused to release a break down of PCSO numbers in Witham over the past three years.

A spokesman added: “We cannot comment at this time as to how and where PSCOs may deployed in the future.