THE new Essex Police & Crime Commissioner has criticised plans to scrap a key figure in Southend’s fight against domestic abuse.

Southend Council wants to do away with its domestic abuse partnership manager in a bid to cut costs but Nick Alston voiced his concerns during his first ever “public engagement” meeting held at the town’s civic centre.

It comes after he revealed a four-year policing and crime plan which has tackling domestic abuse at its heart.

On hearing the role was in jeopardy, Mr Alston said: “I’m disappointed to hear it sounds as though we will be losing that in Southend. “I will certainly be arguing against that.”

He said he had been trying to find money specifically for more domestic violence advisors, as there are 44,000 victims of domestic abuse in Essex every year.

The role of domestic abuse partnership manager, held by Althea Cribb, is financed by Southend Council. They say scrapping it will save £105,000 from the budget.

However, Simon Ford, Southend Council’s community safety partnership manager, said the loss of the job was not a done deal. He said: “That’s just a proposal at the moment. There’s a whole consultation going through.”

Lib Dem councillor Graham Longley said they were in talks about whether there were other options.

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