PCSOs hit as funding axed

Coun Peter Gibson, leader of Wyre Borough Council
Coun Peter Gibson, leader of Wyre Borough Council
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RESIDENTS are set to lose community police officers after town hall bosses voted to slash funding.

Wyre Council claims a deal which has seen it pay out more than £1m to part-fund 11 police community support officers in the borough was unfair – and now leading councillors have voted to scrap it.

The move means the borough will be left with just 13 PCSOs – paid for by the police – and the man in control of police cash, police and crime commissioner Clive Grunshaw, today said he was “disappointed” the council had rejected his offer to continue the part-funding arrangement.

He said: “Clearly I am very disappointed with the decision Wyre Council has taken. Our offer of part-funded PCSOs is a fair one and gives districts the opportunity to boost their numbers beyond that of the resources available to the constabulary.

“I do have sympathy for the position Wyre Council finds itself in, as Lancashire Constabulary is also making difficult decisions based on finances. However, the constabulary cannot continue to fund these part-funded posts without the contribution from councils.”

Coun Peter Gibson, the council’s leader, believes Wyre have been treated unfairly in the allocation of PCSOs, with less operating in the borough than in other authorities which do not part fund them.

The funding will end in March, and he said: “We have supported PCSOs over a number of years despite significant cuts in Government funding and even though the system is totally unfair to Wyre residents.

“We are in a situation where other local authorities, who do not contribute any funding at all, have more officers on the beat than we do.

“While I acknowledge the valuable contribution PCSOs have made towards maintaining Wyre as a safe place to live, the overwhelming view is people value PCSOs but they think the police should pay for them.”

Lesley Middleton, chairman of Poulton Action Group, added: “I’ve heard people say it is a great shame and they hope the police will take up the funding.”