Police are 'fully committed' to importance of PCSOs

POLICE chiefs were set to decide yesterday (Weds) how a funding gap will affect the role of police community support officers (PCSOs) in North Somerset.

POLICE chiefs were set to decide yesterday (Weds) how a funding gap will affect the role of police community support officers (PCSOs) in North Somerset.

A Police Authority meeting was held after North Somerset Council refused to plug a £211,000 hole in the police budget caused by cuts in Government funding.

Earlier this month council leader Nigel Ashton described the use of PCSOs as a cheap way of getting uniforms on the streets’.

The role of PCSOs has come under national scrutiny over the last week, with two officers in Wigan being heavily criticised for failing to jump into a pond to save a 10-year-old boy.


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An inquest heard that Jordan Lyon drowned and two PCSOs did not attempt to rescue him because they had not received proper training.

Police authority chairman Dr Moira Hamlin has denied the funding gap will have an impact on PCSOs in North Somerset and the force’s neighbourhood policing plans.

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She said: “Late last year the Government announced a change to the Neighbourhood Policing Fund.

“The Police Authority made up some of the shortfall and, in line with Government recommendations, has asked the councils to make up the difference, with the option of funding extra PCSOs if they wish.

“Talks have been ongoing with all our local authorities in recent months and the Police Authority has generally been making positive progress.

“Sadly, it seems that due to its own budgetary challenges, North Somerset Council has been unable to commit to us on this initiative.

“Despite this, the Police Authority has listened to the public and is fully committed to neighbourhood policing and the important role PCSOs play.”

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