Rural PCSO funding unbalanced says boss

Frustration: Wyre Council is unhappy with the funding situation for its PCSOs
Frustration: Wyre Council is unhappy with the funding situation for its PCSOs
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Frustrated council bosses have asked the county’s new police and crime commissioner to address a system that leaves a rural council that pays towards PCSOs with less officers than other councils who contribute nothing.

Wyre Council Leader Peter Gibson met with PCC Clive Grunshaw this week to discuss police and community safety issues in Wyre and complained about what he branded the “unfair way” that Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) are funded across Lancashire.

Currently Wyre Council part-funds the borough’s PCSOs, with the number of officers determined by the Chief Constable but the unbalanced system leaves Wyre with less officers than other councils who contribute nothing at all.

The PCC said: “PCSOs make an important and valuable contribution to the policing of neighbourhoods, primarily through highly visible patrols and being accessible to their local communities and partners.”

“I appreciate the support Wyre council has given the constabulary in part funding PCSO posts and, as with my meeting with Peter Gibson, I will be having a number of conversations in the coming weeks in respect of on-going and future provision of this valuable community resource.”

“I remain committed to the valuable role PCSOs play in communities, but PCSO posts are funded through a system of ring fenced grant monies, partner contributions and a further contribution from the police and crime budget.”

“I have said to council leaders, to help them plan their budgets, that I will commit the match funding needed to keep the joint funded PCSOs in communities. As we move forward in 2013, the challenge for the Constabulary is to come through the next few years with a reduced budget and fewer people whilst still delivering high quality policing services to our communities”.

“The commitment Wyre council gave was to support extra PCSOs, above those which the Chief Constable thinks are necessary because of the risks in Wyre.

“If the council decides not to continue with funding, they will lose these extra provisions because I can’t put that extra burden on the police budget.”

Coun Gibson said: “This was a very positive meeting and I think Clive was supportive of the point we were trying to make. Since PCSOs were first introduced Wyre Council has given the police more than £1m of financial support. Yet one of our neighbours pays nothing and is still allocated more officers than us.

“This system is simply not fair and we have asked Clive to look at the situation.”