Details regarding the future funding and distribution of Police Community Safety Officers (PCSOs) in Leeds are set to be considered by senior councillors next week.
As part of a report submitted to Leeds City Council’s executive board on Wednesday, March 9, members will have the chance to consider the new funding arrangements which are in place to maintain the current presence and numbers of PCSOs, and also recommend how over the next financial year (2016-2017) those part funded by the council will be deployed in communities across the city.
Since 2008, the council working closely in partnership with West Yorkshire Police has made a 21% contribution of over £1m to the overall cost of five PCSOs (165) in each city ward. Despite the current financial pressures the Council will be maintaining this budget commitment. However, with the current agreement with the police now coming to an end and following a request by the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) that funding contributions towards PCSOs by all partners in the region become an even 50/50 split, the number of PCSOs part financed by the council will now reduce from 165 to 67 for the same expenditure. The presence of PCSOs in Leeds supported by the council and the police will not diminish however over the upcoming year, due to a commitment by the PCC following discussions with the authority which will result in the numbers of officers currently funded directly by the police, rising from 42 to 160. While talks are continuing with other partners who currently part fund the deployment of PCSOs in Leeds, the total of PCSOs funded by the council and the police will increase from 207 to 227 this April.
Members of the executive board will be given the opportunity to consider how the 67 PCSOs part funded by the council still at a cost of over £1m will be deployed over the upcoming year. If approved, this would result with a minimum of three PCSOs in place per ward (two provided by the council, one by the police), with further allocations being made on a need and support basis. Areas with high demand will see increases to the support that they currently receive.
For a full copy of the executive board report, please see: http://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/documents/s142824/PCSOs%20010316.pdf
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“As a council we greatly value the great work and reassurance that PCSOs provide to residents living in communities’ right across the city, which is why despite the continued pressure on our own budgets and those of our partners, there was a real desire to ensure that a high presence was maintained in Leeds. I am delighted therefore that by working closely with the police, we have been able to secure this agreement that will mean PCSOs continue to operate in all wards of the city.”
Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive member with responsibility for Safer Leeds said:
“I am pleased and grateful that tied in with the significant financial contribution of over £1m that we are continuing to make towards the part funding of 67 PCSOs, the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, has agreed to increase the number of support officers that the police will fund in the city over the next year. This will mean that the PCSO presence funded by the council and the police in Leeds will if agreed actually increase from April, which is certainly very positive news.”
Chief Superintendent Paul Money, Leeds District Commander, said:
“PCSOs continue to play a vital role in keeping our communities safe and they remain a key component in the future of neighbourhood policing.
"They will be deployed at ward level and work closely with staff from our partner agencies, including the local authority, to specifically tackle the issues that matter the most to the communities in which they work.
“The continued funding of PCSOs by Leeds City Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner and our other partner agencies clearly demonstrates that they share our commitment to maintaining the valuable work of PCSOs in communities across the Leeds district.”
Notes to editors:
The cost to the council of part funding 67 PCSOs in 2016/2017 is: £1.060m.
For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578