DCSIMG

Crime tsar plugs hole in council’s PCSO funding

Mark Burns-Williamson

Mark Burns-Williamson

THE number of police community support officers on the streets of Leeds will remain the same despite the city council cutting its funding by more than £450,000 a year.

Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson has agreed to make up the difference after council bosses said they could no longer keep up the same level of financial support.

It means there will still be 310 PCSOs tackling anti-social behaviour and quality of life issues in Leeds, with 165 part-funded by the city council.

In 2014/15 the police commissioner’s contribution to the cost of the 165 part-funded PCSOs will rise from £3,532,000 a year to £3,986,000, while the city council’s share will drop from £1,513,710 to £1,060,000, it was announced yesterday.

Across West Yorkshire, Mr Burns-Williamson is paying an extra £1.1 million a year for the next two years to compensate for smaller contributions by cash-strapped local authorities.

The crime commissioner, who has previously pledged to maintain the number of PCSOs in the county at 763 despite dramatic cuts in central government funding, is taking the extra money from a reserve.

He said: “I understand the challenges that the council faces as the Government makes severe cuts to our public services.

“This means we have to find smarter, more innovative ways of working together in our communities and your local council is working with the police and other partners to keep officers on your streets.

Leeds city council leader Keith Wakefield said PCSOs played “an important role”. He said: “With significant reductions being made to our budget, we have continued to investigate every possible avenue with partners to see how funding can be found to support important services provided by the council, which includes PCSOs.”

 

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