A controversial plan to spend millions of pounds across Lancashire on a social worker-led scheme instead of 48 new police community support officers has been given a £215,000 cash boost.
Lancashire County Council has already announced £3m will be pumped into the new Early Action Response project, with Lancashire Constabulary set to match that amount in resources.
And now the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw has successfully bid for £215,000 from the Home Office’s Police Innovation Fund to help get the innovative new service up and running.
The scheme sparked anger last month when the previous Tory administration said it had set £3.7m aside for new PCSOs in 12 different areas.
The new service, set to be piloted in Preston and Burnley, will see Early Action Response Officers established to provide vital help and support to some of the county’s most vulnerable residents at the earliest possible opportunity.
Mr Grunshaw said: “This £215,000 will help get the service established – and ensure we can make the best use of the £3m which the County Council has so generously agreed to put in.
“The new service is an excellent opportunity to improve Early Intervention within the county and ensure we are helping our most vulnerable residents at the earliest opportunity and therefore preventing problems escalating in future.”
The Police Innovation Fund money will ensure partner organisations are able to share key data, fund laptops to ensure staff can update and access the system when out of the office, and body cams to record real time incidents involving vulnerable people.
The money will also fund eight vehicles to ensure the new Early Action Response Service can respond to incidents quickly and effectively.
County Councillor Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “It’s great news that the Police and Crime Commissioner has secured this money to help get the new service up and running.
“We are convinced that this innovative and integrated approach, tackling problems at an early stage, will produce better results.”