Basildon councillor Kerry Smith told a public meeting in Wickford that convicted criminals should face the full force of the law rather than “just getting a week in Butlins”.

At the Together For Safer Communities meeting at the Wickford Community Centre, the topic of community policing teams funding was brought up. Mr Smith, councillor for Nethermayne, said: “We need magistrates who are going to throw the book at criminals. It feels like some just seem to get a week in Butlins.”

A member of the public had called for a crowdfunding effort to get more PCSOs on the street to help tackle antisocial behaviour.

But Mr Smith, who chaired the meeting, said he regarded the idea as ‘speculative’.

He added: “If the borough had the money for such things then it would be for a proper police officer who has the power of arrest. We need more than just one officer too, if the money was there we should being having up to two or three.”

The call was made after further vandalism in Memorial Park where the Poppy Pavilion cafe has been repeatedly targeted by vandals and residents have reported bins being set alight.

Sarah Keevil, 31, of Haslemere Road, Wickford, one of the leaders of Crimewatch Wickford has said that she champions’the community trying to help increase police numbers, but added that there needs to be a constant source of revenue.

She said: “I am 100 per cent for funding extra officers, I think it is needed, whether it comes from central government or from this new proposal with taxes.

“But crowdfunding has its issues.

“I champion extra officers and the community needs it.

“But with crowdfunding, all you are getting is a lump sum, there needs to be a continuous flow of revenue for us to keep them.”