Cash cuts could hit 999 response

FRONT line policing could suffer in the Cheddar area if funding for new police community support officers (PCSOs) dries up, a senior officer has warned. Up to 12 extra PCSOs are due to join the force to patrol the Axbridge, Cheddar, Burnham and Highbridge

FRONT line policing could suffer in the Cheddar area if funding for new police community support officers (PCSOs) dries up, a senior officer has warned.Up to 12 extra PCSOs are due to join the force to patrol the Axbridge, Cheddar, Burnham and Highbridge sector in the next 12-18 months.The Government is paying for the new officers, but has only set down cash to fund them for three years.Sector deputy Sgt Roger Tolley told a meeting in Axbridge he was concerned about where future funding for the officers would come from.He told the Somerset Mercury: "Ultimately the officers will have to be funded from somewhere. Nobody has come up with a satisfactory explanation about where that will come from."Our budgets are being cut all the time, so I don't know where the funding will come from."I fear there will be a reduction in the emergency response of the police officers that work in this sector, the front line cops that answer the 999 calls. That is a worst case scenario."The increased service we offer from the Home Office funding is going to be absolutely brilliant, it's sunshine days for the service."What I'm concerned about is that when that funding support ceases where will the cuts be made? As I understand it, PCSOs are going to be offered full contracts. They are here to stay."A Home Office spokesman said: "For money beyond 2008, we have made it clear that PCSO investment will be maintained. In the longer term we'll put money back into regular police funding.

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