Police cuts on cards
MASSIVE cuts to policing in North Somerset could be made if the Government gets its way. The district would lose out on 195 police community support officers (PCSOs), due to be recruited by 2008, under Home Office plans to withdraw funding. District Comma
MASSIVE cuts to policing in North Somerset could be made if the Government gets its way.The district would lose out on 195 police community support officers (PCSOs), due to be recruited by 2008, under Home Office plans to withdraw funding.District Commander, Superintendent Tracey Hayler, said: "The decision by the Home Office means we wouldn't be able to deliver the same level of service that we could have. We are really disappointed about it."The Home Office said its decision was based on reports from some forces that they cannot and do not want to recruit police community support officers."But we have a recruitment programme for them until 2008 so we are still in negotiations with the Home Office to see if there is any chance that it will look at our case favourably."We hope to find out by the end of the financial year what is going to happen."Until last week negotiations were taking place between the police authority and North Somerset Council to see if the local authority could help with a funding gap of £350,000 for PCSOs when the Home Office is expected to drop funding from 100 per cent to 75 per cent in 2008. But now new talks are taking place since the Government's latest announcement.Weston's prospective MP Mike Bell says the move is another broken Government promise.He said: "Our Neighbourhood Watch groups and local action teams have really benefited from the advice and support offered from PCSOs and, together with beat bobbies, they have helped to make progress on issues like yobs in Mead Vale, troublesome teens in Ashcombe Park and vandalism in some of our villages."If we are to truly tackle crime we need genuine long-term thinking and investment. Instead we've seen a funding rollercoaster for our police - up one minute, down the next. We've seen a ragtag of laws and gimmicks and promises made and not kept."Community safety and crime is the foremost concern of people living in North Somerset - all the local surveys show it. It's about time Ministers in Whitehall listened.