Changes to PCSO structure could see fewer officers per area of Leeds

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POLICE community officers in Leeds could see their roles expanded, and there could be different levels of manpower covering different parts of the city, as part of a restructuring of the service.

A review of the role of PCSOs is under way following the announcement of the 2014/15 budget.

However police bosses - who ultimately decide how the teams are deployed - are now considering some changes.

At a meeting of Leeds city council’s Safer and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Board, police representatives told the panel that West Yorkshire Police does not make use of all the powers and duties legally available to PCSOs and the force is now “looking to take those on”.

The review could see 11 new teams and a new model of working, the panel was told, which could include the current five-PCSOs-per-ward system being changed, with more flexible deployment of officers based on the size of the area they are covering and demand.

The council panel was told there is “a very clear desire to make the role more expansive and collaborative” and any changes were about “maximising resources”.

Leeds city council has slashed £150,000 from its share of funding for 165 Leeds PCSOs, however guaranteed funding of almost £18m from the West Yorkshire police and crime commissioner’s office has protected overall numbers.

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