Police ‘betrayal’ over PCSO axe

Chief Superintendant Richard Bayly.
Chief Superintendant Richard Bayly.
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A FURIOUS row has erupted over claims a council has withdrawn funding for PCSOs.

This week The Gazette revealed eight PCSO posts had been axed in Wyre taking 22 officers down to 14.

Two wards in Cleveleys have had their PCSOs removed while Poulton and Thornton have seen their officers reduced by more than half.

Lancashire Police claimed the reductions were a result of Wyre Council’s decision to withdraw the money they contribute towards the posts.

Chief Supt Richard Bayly said the police had always made it clear if funding was removed the force would have no choice but to relocate PCSOs.

Describing the situation as ‘regrettable’, he said the force had worked hard to persuade the local authority to continue to fund them.

But the council has slammed the accusations saying it has agreed to continue part-funding PCSOs throughout the borough from April 2011 to March 2013.

Leader of the council, Coun Peter Gibson, criticised the police for their “betrayal”.

He said: “The claim by the police that Wyre Council’s funding for PCSOs has been withdrawn is not only outrageous, it is inaccurate.

“Last year a discussion group was set up to look at the issue of PCSOs and it recommended the £240,000 already in budget to fund PCSOs should be maintained.

“That recommendation was accepted and implemented.

“The eight PCSOs that have left have not been replaced is a police decision, the money from the council is still there and has not been reduced in any way from previous years.

“We have always worked closely with the police and supported their work.

“And with the exception of Chorley, Wyre Council has provided more funding for PCSOs than any council in Lancashire – this is a huge betrayal.”

Coun Gibson told The Gazette he believed the police were playing a “politics game”.

He said: “The police in Lancashire have been accused of playing politics and this seems to be yet another example of that.

“The police station programme also seems very politically motivated.

“Some towns don’t have any proposed complete closures, yet the police have targeted Poulton, Cleveleys, Fulwood and Lytham.”

Police chiefs in Lancashire plan to close more than 50 premises including stations, rural bases and front counters to help save £42m.

The plan, which will net £4m follows a review of how the force uses its properties.

A total of 34 buildings, including Poulton and Cleveleys, would join 14 already on the market under the plan.