Council axe safety budget

COUNCIL cost-cutters have axed a £360,000 budget set aside to reduce and prevent antisocial behaviour in crime hotspots throughout North Somerset.

COUNCIL cost-cutters have axed a £360,000 budget set aside to reduce and prevent antisocial behaviour in crime hotspots throughout North Somerset.

The community safety fund was set up earlier this year to pay for projects including repairing street furniture and installing new security features such as gates, bollards and railings.

It has been axed by the new executive as part of a massive spending review which the Weston & Somerset Mercury understands is aimed at reducing all council budgets by five per cent.

The news comes days after the Avon and Somerset Police Authority held a meeting discussing how to deal with a £211,000 funding gap which the authority refused to help plug.


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The cash was to be spent on police community support officers

(PCSOs) in North Somerset as part of the force’s Safer, Stronger Neighbourhoods scheme for community policing.

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District commander Kay Wozniak asked the authority to help but council leader Nigel Ashton said although he was supportive he thought PCSOs represented a cheap way of getting uniforms on the streets’.

Police chiefs have decided to reallocate money meant for community safety initiatives to keep the number of PCSOs in the district at the current level.

Chief superintendent Julian Moss said: “It’s very early days to work out what the impact will be. But we will be forced to look at how we find funding for future work we do with partners, such as the Streetsafe bus.”

According to council papers, the axing of the £360,000 fund, which came from cash collected from the sale of council-owned properties, was agreed by Councillor Ian Peddlesden, the executive member for community

services, adults and housing .

Cllr Peddlesden said: “I’ve never seen that amount of money mentioned, but will check with officers.”

Police authority member Cllr Arthur Terry said: “There will be an impact and there has been debate about whether we should have more PCs than PCSOs.

“The public must realise the value of PCSOs. Obviously it would be nice to put more PCs on the streets but we are not getting any more Government grants to pay for them.”

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