Fight to save Wetherby PCSOs

PCSO's  Mick Driscoll  and  Jenn Cornes at Wetherby Police Station  part of the internet child protection team.
PCSO's Mick Driscoll and Jenn Cornes at Wetherby Police Station part of the internet child protection team.

A local councillor is fighting to save PCSOs from proposed £150,000 of council budget cuts.

Harewood Coun Matthew Robinson said Leeds City Council should think again before adopting plans to reduce numbers across the authority.

“PCSOs do a vital job in helping to keep our communities safe and they have been a huge success in Harewood and across the city,” said Coun Robinson.

He spoke out following a debate in a recent Full Council meeting where councillors discussed the administration’s initial budget proposal to cut £150,000 from the PCSO budget.

This may involve reducing the number of PCSOs in some wards.

“There was very broad opposition support for maintaining the level of council funding and the commitment to having five PCSOs in each ward,” added Coun Robinson.

“That’s because everyone can see the difference they have made in their own communities.

“It was disappointing that the administration did not take this opportunity to reverse their planned £150,000 cut to the PCSO budget - a cut that is tiny in financial terms, but the impact of which would be felt far and wide.

“We will need to ensure these proposals are strongly opposed when the budget is finally decided next month.

“When the five PCSOs per ward initiative started, it was without regard to postcode politics and on the basis that every community had a right to a visible, effective police presence that could deal with anti-social behaviour and low level crime.

“All that good work will be put at risk if the administration plans are allowed to go through.”

At the Full Council meeting Coun Andrew Carter put forward a motion that the council commits to funding five PCSOs for every ward in Leeds in 2014/15 under the deployment arrangements that are currently in place.

Meanwhile a new PCSO has started in the Boston Spa area.

Mohammed Akash, also known as Akki, joined West Yorkshire Police as a Police Explorer and went on to become a police support volunteer.

Last November, at the age of 21, he became a PCSO and has recently finished his training at Bishopgarth after which he was posted to Wetherby Police Station.

“My patrolling beat is the Eastern Villages where I will cover the Boston Spa, Thorp Arch, Walton, Bramham and Clifford areas,” said Akki.

“I am looking forward to getting to know my areas and meeting everyone that lives within.

“I want to make sure we as a Police service meet your needs, so if you have any concerns or need any advice please don’t hesitate to contact me on the usual number.”

PCSOs support regular police officers, managed by their police force, and provide a visible presence.