Clarity around PCSO funding (12 Jan 2016)

I am writing in response to recent reports of so called private funding to pay for police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) which has understandably raised concerns that people are paying twice for their police force which is not the case. To provide clarity I have detailed below our funding arrangements with partners for Police Officers and PCSOs. This does not include collaboration with other police forces and the Home Office which were erroneously captured in earlier articles.

 450 of our 565 PCSOs are paid for in collaboration arrangements with other bodies, including local authorities, housing associations and parish councils amongst others. Our partners currently contribute between 20% and 30% of the funding for each of the jointly funded PCSOs. This means out of the £17.8m funding for PCSOs, 17%, or just over £3m, is funded through partners, the rest is paid out of the West Yorkshire policing budget. This reflects the positive collaboration with partners to enhance community safety which I am keen to maintain and has been well received and effective over many years.

West Yorkshire Police also receives £1.37m funding for 26 police officers from a range of partner organisations including Housing Associations, Local Authorities, Leeds Bradford Airport and a few other organisations. In addition to this West Yorkshire Police receives £1.04m as a 50% contribution for joint funding for 51 Safer Schools Officers based in schools and acting as a point of contact for teachers, students and parents which I believe represents money targeted in the right places helping to safeguard our young people.

This partnership funding contributes just over £5.45m which is less than 1.5 per cent of the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner's (PCC) budget.

This funding again reflects the joint working with partners to ensure community safety and their collective commitment is recognised and appreciated in keeping communities safer and feeling safer.

I wanted to provide clarity to recent reports as PCSOs are a vital part of community safety and as long as I am Police and Crime Commissioner they will remain a key part of the neighbourhood policing model. Some police services are apparently considering scrapping them. Not me.

I have always strived to reach the best deal I can on behalf of the public in West Yorkshire in terms of what is affordable for both the police, local councils and the public. Neighbourhood policing and the trust and confidence required to ensure it is successful has been built up over many years in collaboration with our many partners. Joint funding agreements helps ensure a total commitment to community safety for all of us and represents additionally on top of core police budgets that have been cut by £140m in recent times by the Government.

I am always looking at the options to protect and strengthen front line policing and have just released my Community Conversations survey to ask the public how they want the policing budget to be spent at /get-involved/community-conversation.aspx

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