Should PCSOs be given extra policing powers?

19th February 2013. Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Mark Burns-Williamson.

19th February 2013. Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Mark Burns-Williamson.

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The number of PCSOs patrolling the district’s streets will be protected until 2016, the Police and Crime Commissioner has announced.

Mark Burns Williamson has ring-fenced funding for the district’s 80 PCSOs to ensure they are not affected by on-going budget cuts.

West Yorkshire Police has already been forced to find savings of £64m after its policing grant was reduced by 20 per cent.

This year it will have to cut its spending by a further £18m.

But Mr Burns-Williamson has committed to protecting front line officers.

He said: “PCSOs working as part of our neighbourhood policing teams with police constables provide an invaluable service in our communities and I have pledged to protect neighbourhood policing which is a key priority in my Police and Crime Plan.

“I understand the pressures that councils and partners are under with severe government cuts to all our budgets and I am working closely with council leaders to secure their level of funding.

“But it is not just about protecting the numbers of frontline officers and staff but about making sure our neighbourhood police teams are more visible, responsive, and working in a more joined up way with partner agencies to deliver a better service in our communities.

“This is important work to make sure our communities are safer and feel safer.”

Wakefield Council currently provides £300,000 in funding towards 33 PCSOs that work with NPTS around the district.

Chief Con Mark Gilmore said: “I am pleased that this funding has been guaranteed for the next three years. PCSOs do a great job as part of our NPTs. We are committed to providing a world class policing service and PCSOs play a key role in this by engaging with and reassuring our communities.”