West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner makes clear pledge re future of PCSOs (23 Jul 2015)

A message from West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson:

"After a story in today's (Thursday 23 July) Yorkshire Evening Post I wanted to set the record straight and emphasise again my commitment to neighbourhood policing and the future of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).

"PCSOs play a very important role in helping to keep people safe and feeling safe, I remain as committed as ever to ensuring they remain a key part of the neighbourhood policing model.

"Despite the severe cuts imposed by government which will mean West Yorkshire Police's budget will have reduced by 30% by 2016/17 I have always done everything I can to protect neighbourhood policing, of which Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) play a key role with police officers and partners. I have also recently restated my commitment to the model of Neighbourhood Policing despite some other PCCs withdrawing support for visible policing within our communities....that isn't my view or that of the public we serve.

"Protecting neighbourhood policing is a key priority in my Police and Crime Plan and that is why I made a firm guarantee that funding for PCSOs would remain protected until 2016 and therefore I ring-fenced £17.8m a year of core police funding to continue to pay for PCSOs across the county.

"It is vital that as Police and Crime Commissioner I work very closely with key partners, of which local councils are one, to make communities safer and feeling safer and PCSOs play a vital role in ensuring that. Like the police the local councils and other key partners are having to contend with severe government cuts. I understand the pressure they are under and I am working closely with council leaders to secure matched funding going forward. However, as we heard earlier this week from the Chancellor George Osborne the Home Office as a 'unprotected' department, which includes policing, will potentially have to find up to another 40% of cuts over the next 4 years on top of what has already been cut...this will make it very difficult to maintain the current levels, but there will be still a substantial number of PCSOs as part of our Neighbourhood Policing Teams over coming years."


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